Jeff Lang: Doing it for the Otways

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Jeff Lang: Doing it for the Otways

Purveyor of his self-described “disturbed folk” style, Australian songwriter, singer and slide guitarist Jeff Lang is a leading performer in the Aussie roots music scene. Forté chat to Jeff ahead of his upcoming performances at the two-day non for profit event, One for the Otways this month.

Hi Jeff, thanks for taking the time to chat with us, how are you and what are you up to at the moment?
About to go on tour in India and putting the finishing touches on a new solo album.

You’re performing at the One for the Otways event at the end of the month. What are you looking forward to most about performing live at the Lorne Hotel and Aireys Pub. Have you ever visited these locations before?
Sure have. I started my performing days playing around Geelong, Lorne and Warrnambool so it’s an area I know well. There should be a great atmosphere at the shows and I’m happy to be playing a small part.

You are a leading performer in the Australian roots music scene, and have described yourself as a “purveyor of disturbed folk”. Have you always viewed your music in this way?
Well, I’ve always felt like I’ve been sort of off to the side – just winding my way around the mountain ranges of the music biz.

Well known as a slide guitarist, how did you begin experimenting with this type of instrumentation? Is this your preferred style?
I enjoy playing slide but I also use regular, non-slide guitar techniques just as much. Whatever works for the song.

You site your early influences as AC/DC, Ry Cooder, Neil Young and Bob Dylan amongst others. How was it to tour and support with Bob Dylan years later? Did that have any effect on your music?
Bob Dylan is the artist I’ve heard probably for the longest period of my life, from car trips as a child onwards. He’s been a constant source of inspiration. I only played one show opening for him but it was an honour to try and warm up the stage a bit for the king.

You have been releasing tracks and albums since 1994. How has your music changed over this time and what can we expect from your upcoming album?
There’s hopefully been a continuing evolution in my sound through the years. Hard for me to say, been busy doing it and not so much analysing an overall arc in my style. The new album is almost all played by myself. There’s one song with Danny McKenna playing drums with me, but for the most part I was hunkered down in the bunker, chipping away on the songs.

How does your partner, Alison Ferrier, also being a fellow musician, inspire and shape your own work?
It’s great having someone close who you can really trust to give valuable feedback when you need it. She knows what makes a song work and knows my sound so well that she is fantastic to bounce ideas off. We help each other that way.

When & Where: Aireys Pub, Aireys Inlet – October 29 & Lorne Hotel, Lorne – October 30