Running on Sober

I'm not empty, just sober (and on extended hiatus)

The Choices You Make Might Be Mistakes But- (Jonny Lang’s “Turn Around”)

I first shared one of Jonny Lang’s songs “Walking Away” on my blog here and talked about how it was a powerful goodbye song, specifically a “goodbye-to-alcohol” type of song for me. It still gets a handful of views, as I guess everyone can relate to having to walk away from something or someone at some point in their lives. Or maybe there are just a lot of Lang fans out there; the search term “Jonny Lang sober” shows up quite often. It’s probably a combination of both.

From Atlanta Music Guide (interview here). Jonny is asked 15 questions including, “How do you feel about tequila?”
He replied, “Every time I drink tequila I make bad choices… tequila is not a loyal friend… in fact, tequila is a horrible friend.”

I had mentioned that Lang is in recovery from drugs and alcohol, but I later found an article where he discusses the way his life was before and what happened (God happened) to change his path. It’s really an amazing story regardless of your beliefs. If you’re a Lang fan, definitely check it out HERE. In the article, Lang says this of his past:

By the time I was 17, I was an alcoholic and smoking two packs a day. I also started doing drugs. It was mostly marijuana, but there were other drugs as well. In my position, anything I wanted was just handed to me. I used cocaine, ecstasy, and hallucinogens. I really loved to be high. It got to be such a problem, that if I wasn’t high I didn’t feel normal.

Later in the article he shares that he was “delivered of all the addictions inside [him],” discussing how that happened, and what life is like after beating his addictions.

After Lang changed his path, he put out an album “Turn Around” in 2006. I had not found my way to recovery then, I hadn’t even really come close to reaching my turning point, so the album and its lyrics didn’t speak much to me at the time of my first listens. But when I was newly sober I pulled it out again and, I gotta tell you, I felt it. I think we don’t really grasp a message or a lesson until we are ready for it or until we have a slight foundation on which we can build. But when we are ready, we can turn around. No matter the choices we’ve made, no matter how old or how young we are, as long as we’re still breathing, there is always still time to change. We can always make the next right decision.

Jonny discusses his album “Turn Around,” his upbringing, his influences, meeting and playing with BB King, and what now inspires his craft in this short video. And in this written interview he goes into a bit more detail for individual songs from the album.

This is his “seriously crazy-possessed with something kick-ass other-worldly” live version of “Turn Around.” I sat with my mouth agape watching and listening, and at the end, all I could say is, “You have got to be kidding me!!! Wow!!!” Yes friends, it’s THAT good.

“Turn Around” by Jonny Lang

I was a young man in a hurry
I didn’t stop to think
The next thing I knew
I was in trouble, deep trouble

Then I remember what aunt Linda
Used to tell me back in the day
The words that she said
Are still in my head, she said

“The choices you make might be mistakes
But it’s never too late to turn around, turn around
The road that you take might lead you astray
But don’t be afraid to turn around, turn around”

I knew a young man named…
He went and lost his way
Now he’s in prison, cold prison
No chance for escape

They gave him new clothes
And a Bible and the word he did read
Out loud of four walls can’t keep him because
Trial is free, singing

The choices you make might be mistakes
Oh it’s never too late to turn around, turn around
Oh the road that you take might lead you astray
Don’t be afraid to turn around, turn around, turn around

You might be in trouble
You might be running but
But it’s never too late to turn around, yeah

‘Cause as long as you’re still breathing
There’ll always be another time to make the right decision
Before you die because

The choices you make might be mistakes
But it’s never too late to turn around, turn around
Oh the road that you take might lead you astray
But don’t be afraid to turn around, turn around

Oh the choices, oh the choices you make might be mistakes
But it’s never too late to turn around, turn around
Oh the road, oh the road that you take might lead you astray
My friend don’t be afraid to turn around, turn around
To turn around yeah

Lyrics source

The live version above of “Turn Around” is so good, but he does leave out many of the song’s original lyrics. If you were moved by the lyrics, and you would like to listen to the studio version, here you go; you may listen here. (It’s a more upbeat, clap-your-hands, take-you-to-church version.)

I hope you enjoyed this piece. I may try to do similar pieces in the future on sober artists. Maybe I’ll tackle Tom Waits next, that should be fun!

Categories: Recovery & Life

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18 replies

  1. Jonny’s story is quite something. So is his music. And I love your idea of doing similar pieces on other sober artists. Always interesting, and inspiring. Thanks RoS.


  2. Oh, yeah! HELL YEAH! Thanks for sharing!


    • Did you listen to that live version?! OMG, how does he *do* that?! I saw him live in Myrtle Beach at the House of Blues one year- he was IN-CRED-I-BLE. Not a ton of audience interaction, but he sure brought it. I’m glad you liked the piece- thanks!


  3. I’ve not heard of this guy before – so thanks for the info on him. He’s very good looking isn’t he??! But I am liking what I’m hearing so far, it’s great music and a great message xxxx


    • I’m glad you enjoyed Mrs D. Oh yes, I find him extremely attractive- inside and out. I’ve always been a sucker for those moody musician types anyway, especially if they write and play guitar. He really hit the scene big here in the States in 1997 with his album “Lie To Me.” Hard to believe he was only 16 when it was released, and he said he was an alcoholic by 17.

      Here’s his first single, “Lie to Me.” He looks so young, but ah THAT VOICE. *goosebumps* So glad you dropped by!

      but this is probably my favorite song by Lang, called “Breakin’ Me”


  4. Nice idea to do a piece on an artist in recovery. Looking forward to your series!


  5. Definitely interested in reading about other sober artists too – what a great idea!


  6. I’m going to have a listen, music was a massive help in my recovery, as posted in my blog.
    I walk for 4 miles every morning with my inspirational music on, it reminds to start my day the right way, keep my chin up & my recovery on track.


    • Hi Wayne, As I commented on your most recent post, I am so thankful you found my blog and reached out to say hi. Based off of scanning your blog and the music choices you include on each post, I think you’d really love the “Turn Around” album by Lang- there are some great songs to walk to.

      I run a lot and listen to music on most of my runs, so feel free to suggest any faster beat inspirational songs you enjoy. I don’t know much about many contemporary Christian (CC) artists, but I do have two favorite running songs that would be considered CC. Congrats to you on your sobriety and on your walking regime!!

      “Awake and Alive” by Skillet:

      and “Dance” by Kim Walker:


  7. Skillet are one of my favourite bands, I have a post planned which is based around a number of songs that are so important to my journey, one of which is by Skillet. I’ve not heard of Kim Walker before, nice song, similar to BarlowGirl. Not heard of Johnny Lang either, but man does he feel his music, straight from the soul, just the way it should be.


  8. I’m a Johnny Lang fan. Didn’t know any of this, but the music does stand up on its own.


    • His music certainly has evolved. While I’m partial to his old stuff, I love when artists feel creative enough to go in a new direction and take some risks. Hell, I love when *anyone* is brave enough to do so!

      Always love finding out others dig Lang too!


  9. I LOVE Jonny Lang. I had no idea about his personal life, thank you for sharing this.



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