Picks and Pans Review: Long Time Coming

updated 11/03/2003 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/03/2003 AT 01:00 AM EST

Jonny Lang

[STARS 3]

Jonny Lang has always been like Stevie Ray Vaughan trapped in Leonardo DiCaprio's body. The singer-guitarist who made his solo debut, 1997's Lie to Me, at 15, continues to display on his latest an old blues soul that defies his 22 years and boy-band looks. Although it's difficult, even disconcerting, to imagine that Lang has truly lived enough to bring such hard-earned grit and raspy-voiced weariness to his blues-rock, he has so much raw soul that he makes you a believer. His from-the-gut vocals and scorching electric guitar fuel power ballads like "Goodbye Letter" and pump up even the more formulaic rockers. Lang gets an assist from Steven Tyler, who plays a mean harmonica on "Happiness and Misery," which sounds like an old Aerosmith barn burner. Elsewhere he demonstrates his pop chops on the breezy, John Mayer-like "The One I Got" and the pretty, falsetto-tinged "Beautiful One."

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