Jeff Lang heads to Mullumbimby.
Jeff Lang heads to Mullumbimby. Contributed

Jeff Lang, inspiring the stars

John Butler is a big fan of blues and roots guitar virtuoso, Jeff Lang.

In fact, Butler's instrumental set-up was influenced by the one designed by the Geelong-born troubadour.

"The first time John saw me, he said he really enjoyed it," Lang tells Pulse.

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"He asked me after the show, 'how were you getting that sound out of your amp?', so I told him and he asked, 'do you mind if I do it as well?'."

Butler later publicly praised the guitar wizard at a Sydney Opera House show in 2004.

"It makes you very proud if someone says you're a part of their influential backdrop," Lang reveals.

Wonderful and random things like this have happened throughout Lang's career. In 2000, he brushed shoulders with world music genius Bob Brozman, and an ARIA award-winning album resulted.

"You bump into someone like Bob, you get along well, then you say, 'hey, let's play together', and if it sounds good, you say, 'hey, let's record together'," Lang explains.

Another ARIA greeted Lang in 2010 for Djan Djan's debut album, on which he played acoustic-blues guitar with a number of Indian and African musicians.

It's fair to say this adventurous, vintage brown suit-wearing musician's instincts have carved out an unlikely path to a successful 20-year career.

After so many different projects, Lang is unsure exactly how many albums he's made.

"It depends on which ones you count," he says. "It's definitely a generous baker's dozen."

The newest one in the batch is Carried In Mind - an epic roots-rock record released in September. It was recorded in Lang's custom-built studio.

"I didn't want a commercial studio set-up," he says. "I wanted to be able to accommodate a whole live band where everything could swirl around together ... it's got a real '70s sound."

Lang knows his equipment, and along with inspiring Butler's instrumental set-up, he has also designed some acoustic guitars.

As a youngster, he was influenced by ground-breaking guitarists, including Jimi Hendrix and Phil Manning (guitarist for Australian band Chain).

"The first guitar I played had a couple of broken tuning pegs and you couldn't tune them without using pliers," Lang recalls.

"I had to tune the other pegs around them to make the whole thing at least sound decent."

Despite clever songwriting and a seriously smooth voice, Lang has mainly become recognised as a guitarist and for using distinct open-tunings.

"When you're playing up [on stage], you want to entertain, and it's nice having those open chords voicing-out," he says.

After years performing with drummer Danny McKenna and bassist Grant Cummerford, a new member was welcomed into the Lang gang this year - pedal-steel guitar player Garrett Costigan.

The trio's musical talents inspire Lang, who believes Caught In Mind shows them at their peak.

Fellow Victorian, and profound folk singer-songwriter, Jordie Lane, will perform before Lang at his Mullumbimby gig this month.

With an experienced entertainer more excited than ever and Lane creating a buzz of late, the future of Australian roots and folk music appears to be in good hands.

Jeff Lang and band play Mullumbimby Civic Hall on Sunday, October 23. Support, Jordie Lane. Tickets $20 pre-sale/$25 door from