By Denny Dyroff
Posted February 28, 2019
There are times that a long story is really a long story – or, in this case, a “Long” story.
The story of Bobby Long as a singer spans 15 years – which is a long time considering the span covers almost half his life. He turned 33 last September. “I’m one of the veteran people in the industry,” said Long, during a recent phone interview from his home in Jersey City, New Jersey. “I’m proud of myself because I lasted so long.”
Long, who headlines a show at the World Café Live (3025 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, 215-222-1400, www.worldcafelive.com) on March 2, is a talented singer-songwriter-guitarist from England who gained international recognition based on a song he wrote called “Let Me Sign.” The song was sung by his friend Robert Pattinson, who stars in the hit movie “Twilight” and was included on the film soundtrack – an album that debuted at number one on the Billboard Top 200 and has remained on the chart for over six months.
“Robert and I met when we were both playing gigs around London,” said Long, during a phone interview Monday morning. “We got to be friends. We never played together on stage, but we would listen to each other’s sets. “I had never recorded the song or even played it live. I played it for him, and he liked it. He took it and played it over some other people, and they liked it too. Then, I got phone call from L.A. saying they wanted to use my song in the movie.” Long just finished making his 10th record. His new album “Sultans,” will be released via Compass Records on March 1.
“Making the ‘Sultans’ album took a long time because we dragged it out,” said Long. “I wanted to give it some breathing room. Half of it was done in 2017 and the other half in 2018. There were only 10 real days on intensive work in the studio. We’d get together and rehearse and ten go into the studio. We recorded it in Brooklyn at Dave Lindsay’s Country Club Studio. It was a nice little studio that had all we needed. We also did some overdubs in Nashville. It was mostly digital for easiness– but there was some analog.” “Sultans” was produced by multi-instrumentalist Jack Dawson with whom Long had collaborated and toured with on his 2012 EP, “The Backing Singer.” “Sultans” was recorded over a one-year period in a studio in Brooklyn. With Long on guitar, Dawson also played bass on the tracks while studio engineer Dave Lindsay played drums. According to Long, “Jack and I have a shared love of so much music, and we would talk endlessly about records we love. Jack, like myself, is a feel guy so we were never too picky about tone or instruments. The album is basically a reflection of our friendship and love of songs. “Jack really added his own colors and personality to the album, and it’s definitely the best thing I’ve ever done. Of course, I always feel that the new one is the best one, but I feel pretty strongly about this one. I really love creating and writing. It feels as magical today as it did when I was a child.” The recording sessions went very smoothly.
“We formed this weird bond,” said Long. “I’d bring a song in and we’d rehearse and record at the same time. Usually, when you’re in the studio and are paying for time, you don’t have the luxury of taking your time. “The songs were written ahead of time. On half the songs, I wrote all the parts and did everything. It was surprising. The group actually played what was on the demo. It matched what was in my head. It felt like I was playing through them. “The thing that held them together was that I wrote all the songs at the same time. There were hard times. I had lost a few people. But there were also good times. Songs represent an idea and they’re all part of the same family. “Also, my impending fatherhood influenced the songwriting. I felt like he was always on my mind when I was writing. His name is River and he was a baby in the studio with me when I was doing some vocals.” Long’s love of The Beatles is evident on the new album. The two-part title track that bookends the album playfully pays homage to Sgt. Pepper and the music Long heard at home growing up in rural southwest England. “Part of me connects back to England,” said Long. “I was born in northern England – in Wigan. My favorite football teams are the Wigan Warriors and Manchester United.”
Video link for Bobby Long – https://youtu.be/VR9n-rMaizA.
The show at the World Café Live will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $13.