AWARD WINNER: Jeff Lang plays various types of guitar, both slide and standard, as well as banjo, mandolin, Chumbush (a 12-string Turkish instrument) and drums.
AWARD WINNER: Jeff Lang plays various types of guitar, both slide and standard, as well as banjo, mandolin, Chumbush (a 12-string Turkish instrument) and drums.

Jeff Lang, a reluctant 'roots' music star

AUSTRALIAN award-winner songwriter, singer and slide guitarist Jeff Lang is a leading performer on the Australian roots music scene, due to his self-described 'disturbed folk' style, which acknowledges influences from folk, blues and rock.

Lang was happy to be part of the event, despite the fact he does not feel like a 'roots' artist.

"I don't really see it as part of who I am, I don't really self-identify as a roots musician, but I get that people might see what I do that way,” he said.

"It's as good a label as anything.

"(Roots music) has been stripped of meaning, for me, over the years, and that's not to put it down.

"To me, that term, when I first hear it going around, which was early to mid-nineties, I thought that if something was roots music it had a link that is discernible to traditional material, so that is what I thought the term to mean.

"Over time it became something that has an acoustic guitar in the mix,

"Anything that has bear feet walking in a beach is roots music,” he said.

Lang said the term roots music means different things to different people.

"For some it means roots reggae, that's what they see it as,” he said.

"For some people roots music has a rock steady or a reggae or ska element to it, and that's not part of what I do at all.

"It can be misleading, even though it is not completely invalid,” he said.

Speaking from Melbourne, Lang said he would be bringing three instruments to Nimbin this weekend.

"I'll take likely three instruments up with me: a bottleneck guitar, a lapsteel and a regular guitar,” he said. "Apart from taking the usual assortment of instruments to cover all bases, I don't really plan solo shows, which is what I will be doing in Nimbin.

"When I think back on certain rounds of shows, I'll ge getting into certain shows that get regular airing, and then sometimes an older one props up, maybe something I haven't played for a while

"Sometimes newer songs cast a fresh light on older material.

"Maybe it's older songs that goes against what is going on with the new material so it feels good to pull it in to balance the set, and it feels fresh because it sits next to newer songs, but it all comes down to whether I remember the lyrics of that song,” he said.

  • At the Nimbin Roots Festival from tomorrow and until Sunday. Visit nrfest.com.