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Posted September 10, 2018
British singer-songwriter Bobby Long has scheduled a series of shows through to the end of the year as plans are being finalized for the release of his fourth album. Kicking off the run of shows will be his Official Showcase at the annual AmericanaFest in Nashville on Thursday, September 13 at the City Winery.
The new album of original material was recorded in New York over the past year and was funded by his second successful PledgeMusic campaign. Collaborating with New York-based musician Jack Dawson, with whom he worked on his 2011 EP,
THE BACKING SINGER, the new album promises to comprise a diverse collection of styles and songs. "I think it's the best thing I've done, but then again, I always feel like the new one is the best one I've ever done. It is a lot more psychedelic than my previous records and influenced by The Beach Boys, The Beatles and ELO," he explains.
The Bobby Long catalogue to date includes three full CDs--the most recent of which is ODE THINKING from Compass Records--and an EP as well as two collections of poetry: Losing My Brotherhood, published in 2012, and Losing My Misery, published in 2016. Known for his hauntingly poetic lyrics, writing poetry is a natural sidebar to his songwriting. Losing My Misery, infused with candor, raw emotion and his signature wry humor, is at once brash, funny and heartbreaking, exposing the writer's foibles as well as his poignant insights into the human condition.
When it comes to writing, he makes it clear that he needs to work at songwriting and poetry as separate crafts, but, he says, "I feel like a better songwriter after I write poetry."
By William Belcher
Posted September 28, 2017
On Saturday, September 30, Bobby Long will play Caffe Lena for the first time. Long, a singer-songwriter who cut his teeth in the London folk music scene, has earned a reputation as a gutsy, captivating performer with a blues-infused voice and a poet’s sensibility. His vivid song lyrics and distinct guitar work grab the audience by the shirt collar, and his raw, honest, and skillfully vulnerable performance style pulls them close.
It just may be that Caffe Lena is the perfect place to see Long on stage. In addition to launching careers and keeping the music alive, Saratoga’s legendary coffeehouse has remained steadfastly committed to storytelling in all forms. And Long is a storyteller. He’s a wordsmith whose lyrics will linger in your head for days. The imagery he embeds in the songs is a throwback of sorts to poet-songwriters like Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, or Tom Waits, but his unique voice cuts through the lines and strumming. As much as his musical influences seep in, the songs feel entirely his own.
Long grew up in Wiltshire, England, but he’s lived in New York for the last seven years. In the fall of 2009, I saw him perform at The Bitter End in Greenwich Village. The crowd was enthralled – they hung on his every word. Even though he was a bit uncomfortable with the spotlight, or perhaps because he was uncomfortable, he charmed the room. In today’s crazy, hyperactive, often overproduced music scene, it’s easy to forget the power of that lone performer on stage, armed only with a guitar, a mic, and lyrics. A few years ago, Branford Marsalis noted that “superficiality is in and, you know, depth and quality are kind of out” – Long proves that’s not always the case, especially when he’s on stage.
I admit that when A Winter Tale, his first studio album, was released, I found myself scrolling back to older versions of songs on the self-released Dirty Pond Songs and Live at Arlene’s Grocery. I wanted to recall that live experience, but that’s only because the live show was such an experience. A few years later, I caught Long at The Linda in Albany. Coming off of the release of The Backing Singer (EP), his stage act was more practiced and he was more confident as a performer, but the concert was just as open, heartfelt, and moving as the set at The Bitter End. I felt then, as I do now, that he was a musician to keep an eye on.
Over the phone, with his five-month old son in the background, Long and I talk about how his music has evolved since The Bitter End in 2009, and what he makes of it all.
“I’ve become a bit more interested in writing music that’s slightly larger and grander,” Long says. “But I still love playing on my own. I haven’t played with a band for a year or so, at least for a proper show. My sound has developed and changed quite a lot, but it’s still always rooted around me and an acoustic guitar.”
Long’s latest album, Ode to Thinking, was released by Compass Records in 2015, and it features a return to his roots. Looking back, Long mentions that his first record had an old school country influence. Then, after The Backing Singer, his next studio record (Wishbone) was rock-based. “I felt like I hadn’t really done that singer-songwriter album,” he says. “So it was worth a revisit.” The result was Long’s strongest outing yet. The 11 tracks on Ode to Thinking are varied in their subjects and approach, but they all showcase Long’s vocals, guitar, and songwriting skills. When compared to his earlier work, they also suggest someone who is older, more mature, road-tested.
Long’s music sometimes feels like a freight train beating down the tracks. (This is especially true in the country-influenced A Winter Tale.) Other times, his songs are patient, whisky-sipping, and contemplative. Through it all, the one constant is his lyrical styling. Each song is colorful, surprising, and haunting. For example, lines like “my wounded eyes will see again” in “The Bounty of Mary Jane” stick with you. Newer songs like “Kill Someone” and “I’m Not Going Out Tonight” are character-driven vignettes.
By Rhetta Akamatsu
Posted March 31, 2017
Long is skilled a expressing both wry humor and many other shades of emotion from despair to hope and contentment within the poetic framework, with or without music.
Bobby Long is a British blues singer who writes powerful lyrics and also writes evocative poetry. Losing My Misery is his second book of poems, following 2012’s Losing My Brotherhood. To be honest, i don’t especially like the rhythmic quality of Long’s poems. The cadence is often a bit jerky. in that sense, I prefer his lyrics. However, as prose poetry, concentrating on the message of each poem, it is very much worth reading. The main themes in the book include his family and English childhood and then the demons of anxiety and depression he has had to work through growing up. The poems about his childhood reflect a family life that was definitely different but happy and often wildly funny. These contrast to the darker moods which descended upon him later that he reflects on with great honesty. In the press release, he explains the motivation for the book:
"I’ve had a constant thorn in my side most of my life, and I had a moment of clarity in dealing with some obstacles-mainly anxiety and depression-and this book reflects the journey in it and through it. I addressed the problems, and I feel like I’ve lost my unnecessary misery."
Long certainly has a way with words, and while his words do not flow to my ear like those of Dylan Thomas, or for that mater Bob Dylan, he is skilled a expressing both wry humor and many other shades of emotion from despair to hope and contentment within the poetic framework. And in some of the darker poems, the irregular rhythms do seem quite effective. “Essentially, I’m a musician who loves poetry, and I love writing it,” he says, and while this writer prefers his lyrics, Losing My Misery is definitely worth your attention. Also notice the 10 drawings which illustrate the book, which were also done by Long, allowing him to reveal yet another artistic side. Long seems, like most songwriters and poets, ready and willing to share as much of himself as possible with as much openness as words can summon, and this book is a giant step in that endeavor.
By Jay Smith
Posted October 21, 2016
Bobby Long’s calendar is filling up. The British singer/songwriter’s second collection of poetry arrives in December and he’s lined up a May-June tour of Europe that also includes Sam Bradley on the ticket.
Long’s PledgeMusic campaign funding his fourth album passed the 50 percent mark within the first three weeks of the project. Patrons will find several donating tiers, including options to receive the album in physical or digital form. Fans can also snag exclusive apparel, hand-written lyric and poem sheets, special recordings guitar lessons, songwriting help and even private house concerts.
The troubadour’s most recent LP was 2015’s Ode To Thinking. This year saw the vinyl release of Ode, which included six songs from Ode To Thinking and three previously unreleased tracks.
Long’s new collection of poetry, “Losing My Misery,” arrives in early December. Preordering during the PledgeMusic campaign gives you a laminated two-sided bookmark plus an MP3 recording of Long reading selections from the book and talking about specific writings.
Long is scheduled to play Los Angeles’ Hotel Café Dec. 2. The “Renegade” tour through Europe begins in mid-May. Here’s the routing:
May 16 – Stuttgart, Germany, 1210
May 17 – Frankfurt, Germany, Ponyhof
May 18 – Bielefeld, Germany, Bunker Ulmenwall
May 19 – Essen, Germany, Grend
May 20 – Cologne, Germany, Wohngemeinschaft Theatre
May 21 – Slagharen, Netherlands, De Bonte Wever
May 23 – Muenster, Germany, Hot Jazz Club
May 25 – Kiel, Germany, Max Music Hall
May 26 – Hamburg, Germany, Mojo Club
May 27 – Mettmann, Germany, Rio’s
May 28 – Wiesbaden, Germany, La Brasserie Luisenplatz
May 29 – Munich, Germany, Sunny Red
May 30 – Graz, Austria, Die Scherbe
June 1 – Vienna, Austria, B72
June 3 – Leipzig, Germany, Horns Erben
June 2 – Prague, Czech Republic, TBA
June 4 – Berlin, Germany, Baumhaus Bar
Long has spoken with Pollstar a couple of times during recent years. Click here for his 2013 Q&A and follow this link for his 2010 interview.Source
Posted September 21, 2016
Bobby Long has partnered with Pledge Music, and therefore with all of us, to make his next album! His music is poetry and passion. He is what love sounds like and what hurt feels like. If you support only one campaign this year, make it this one. If you’ve never supported an artist on Pledge Music, this is the perfect start.
Alongside the new album, Bobby Long is releasing a book of poetry called Losing My Misery. A signed copy of the book, with an Mp3 recording of him reading the poems, is one of the pledge options on this campaign.
Other pledge options include a signed CD, limited edition T-shirts, a handwritten lyric sheet, the album on vinyl, and much more. All pledges come with an instant access digital download of the new album as soon as it’s ready.
Need a little more convincing? This is I’m Not Going Out Tonight, also off ‘Ode to Thinking’:
By Jeremy Frost
Posted September 12, 2016
I’ve been away for a while. I went to China, got set up in a horrible job teaching out there, had to have four surgeries on my leg not long after I returned, and then went travelling up the coast to Maine and back for a month. With no real internet access in China, and only sporadic WIFI on my trip to Maine I haven’t been able to get any albums reviewed. After all of that (I’ll spare everyone the crazy stories from my hiatus), I sat down this morning trying to find something different. Most of the albums I looked at had that standard packaged “Nashville sound” that I really wasn’t in the mood for.
Then, I came across this one. The name “Ode to Thinking,” stood apart from the rest. I opened it up, took a look at the song titles and almost discarded this one as well (I had just gone through almost 20 albums, and was getting sick and tired of manufactured music). Some of the titles just seemed to say to me same old, same old. I’m glad I hit play.
Instantly I realized it was the “something different” I’d been searching for. Ode to Thinking, the title track, opens up with a nice acoustic that is truly complemented by the vocals. His poetic lyrics right away grasp my ears where my mind can only think of the majestic songwriting of Bob Dylan.
Cold Hearted Lover of Mine caught me off guard. Long’s raspy vocals and the beautiful melody I didn’t expect from its title. Instead of a rough spiteful song, it transfers into a ballad of longing, loss, and tearful remembrance. I’m Not Going out Tonight picks up the pace with a ghoulish guitar and bass sound placing you beneath a blood red moon dancing around a bonfire howling in harmony with the pack.
If the previous song had you dancing in madness in the night, Treat Me Like a Stranger, is that next morning waking up with the smoke spewing off the embers at first sunrise. The oil painting of tents standing, covered in dew, bodies beginning to stir from where they fell on the grass, leftover beer cans some half full, some crushed, and a lone bird chirping at the dawn of new life.
Read full review here...
By Dennis Russo
Posted May 3, 2016
ODE on LP by Bobby Long is the vinyl version of his wonderful CD “Ode To Thinking.” Sort of.
I say sort of because there are some differences between the two that are not just sonic in nature. The CD is titled “Ode To Thinking”, the LP just “Ode.” There are 11 songs on the CD compared to 9 on the LP. And although there are only two numerical songs difference, there are several different songs that appear on one but not the other. Here is the tale of the tape, so-to-speak.
The LP has the following songs that are not on the CD:
Cold Hearted Lover Of Mine
The Songs Kids Sing
That Little Place
Here is the list of tracks on the album:
Ode To Thinking
I’m Not Going Out Tonight
Treat Me Like A Stranger
Something Blue. Something Borrowed
The Dark Won’t Get Darker
Pretty Little Pennies
If You Don’t Want To Be With Me.
For this review I want to spend more time comparing the sound, and for my views of the album in general please read my review for the CD located in our archives.
For those who have never heard an LP or have forgotten just how much better LP playback is over digitally recorded music, here is not only a good example for you but one to which you will be able to make direct comparison, as we are not talking about content recorded decades ago which we now having to compare decades apart. Here we are on a level playing field. The physical nature of the LP was good. The jacket, while not the heaviest stock, was not flimsy either. Same too for the weight of the vinyl, the actual LP of which did still have some processing residue left on it and should be a good reminder to everyone to clean your LPs no matter if you just took the wrapper off or not. You owe it to the records, to your cartridge and to your ears. Once properly cleaned, I was ready to give the album my undivided attention. I listened to the album after having refreshed my ears with the CD so I would have the aural images fresh in my mind.
Read Full review here...
Posted April 28, 2016
The Fallout Shelter at The Extended Play Sessions is pleased that singer-songwriter Bobby Long is returning to the studio on Sunday, May 8th.
One of the most cerebral, pertinent songwriters we’ve seen in a while is Manchester, UK born singer/songwriter Bobby Long. Now living in NYC, Long is gearing up for a European tour supporting a new project, ‘Ode to Thinking.’ His lyrics are dark, mesmerizing, candid portraits of the human condition more in the vein of Tom Waits than say Dylan or Springsteen but he belongs in the same conversation as that lofty trio. This version of ‘Dead and Done Blues’ is from Monday Sept. 28, 2015. Click here to watch the video. This is a unique venue with very limited seating for just 55 lucky souls; every seat is no more than 25 feet from the stage. There is also enough room to dance, if the spirit moves you! No flash photography or professional video cameras are allowed but you may take photos during the show… just turn off your flash and silence your cameras/phones.
We’re fortunate to have Bobby Long grace the stage and space is filling up very quickly. If you are interested in attending this event on Sunday, May 8th, there is still a small number of seats available and will be confirmed via email. Doors are at 6:00 pm with the show at 7:00 pm and you can be included by contacting them via e-mail at email@example.com. Confirmations including the address are issued on a FIRST COME basis. Once confirmed, your seat is reserved. You must email for a confirmation prior to the show.
See full story here...
By Bill Kopp
Posted April 13, 2016
t only 30, Bobby Long has a deep catalog of work. After three self-released albums beginning with 2009’s Dirty Pond Songs, he signed with ATO Records and began a string of releases for that label: two EPs to date, and two full-lengths. The latest of his albums is Ode to Thinking, released in 2015 on Compass Records. Now comes a vinyl version of that set, with the shortened title Ode.
Nominally a folk-based singer/songwriter, Long has a good ear for melodies, and he moves beyond the voice-and-guitar simplicity of folk, overdubbing his vocal harmonies and adding subtle touches of other instrumentation. He applies his hoary, gruff vocals to melodic songs, and the result is shot through with a yearning sincerity. Long is British (born in Wigan, near Manchester in northern England) but little in his vocal delivery, writing style or arrangement sensibility suggests he’s anything other than an American singer/songwriter. (These days he lives in New York City.)
On the more rock-leaning tunes, keen listeners may Karl Wallinger‘s World Party, or Neil Finn‘s Crowded House; “I’m Not Going Out Tonight” has a feel halfway between those top-notch writers and a heartland Americana-flavored rock of Tom Petty or prime era John Mellencamp. Elsewhere – and mostly – he hews closer to a straighter Americana vibe, as on the sentimental “Something Blue, Something Borrowed.” The arrangement on “Th Dark Won’t Get Darker” is the sonic equivalent of the cinematic technique of backing slowly away from the camera’s subject, revealing more eith each passing frame.
The vinyl Ode is substantially different than its similarly-named CD counterpart. Ode trims five songs off of the CD version (“Cold Hearted Lover of Mine,” “Kill Someone” and “Hideaway,” “The Songs the Kids Sing” and “That Little Place”) and adds three new songs (“Pretty Little Pennies,” “If You Don’t Want to Be with Me” and “From Me”).
Read full review here...