By BWW News Desk
Posted January 17, 2019
New York-based British singer-songwriter Bobby Long's love of The Beatles is evident on his forthcoming new album SULTANS, due from Compass Records on March 1, 2019. The two-part title track that bookends this, his fourth album, playfully pays homage to Sgt. Pepper and the music Long heard at home growing up in rural southwest England, while this taut new 10-song set of original material effectively traverses his signature love, loss and heartache milieu. SULTANS finds Long expanding on his spare, singer-songwriter arrangements for a more adventurous Beatle-esque sound with psychedelic flourishes, electric guitar and keys.
"Mazarati," the first track being shared, finds Long searching for truth and meaning in life. Electric piano and wah wah guitar wash over the chorus which breaks into a 60s-inspired guitar break.
"I had this lyric: 'if you're looking for some truth, you've lost it, get saved.'" Long explains. "I think I sang it almost immediately when I first put the chords together. When I realized what I was writing about, it suddenly connected. The lyrics may sound like I'm bashing religion in general, but it's really about my own personal experience. I don't want to tell people what or how to think. However, the song touches on one of my main frustrations, which is the narrow-sightedness of people who won't look critically at outside reasoning. For me, the search for truth is what is most important, not trying to find truth/reason or denying it because I wasn't taught it at school or had it handed down to me by my parents."
g emerged from London's folk music open mic night scene in 2009. Armed with a canon of hauntingly poetic songs and some notoriety for one of them being included in the hit filmTwilight, he relocated to New York and laid down roots there. His critically- acclaimed debut album A Winter Tale (2011) was followed by the more rock-oriented Wishbone (2013). He returned to his singer-songwriter roots for the evocative Ode to Thinking (2015), and nowSULTANS takes a somewhat more adventurous path.
"The songs on this album are a definite continuation and development," Long explains. "It's about the whole body of work for me. It's all part of the greater. I don't think you can define anyone by one album. When you're recording, you always have the greater picture in your head. Your imagination runs over the tracks, and they take all sorts of weird forms. The sounds of this record are the closest to what was in my imagination that I've come on a record."
SULTANS was produced by multi-instrumentalist Jack Dawson with whom Long had collaborated and toured with on behalf of his 2012 EP, The Backing Singer. It 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.
"Jack and I have a shared love of so much music, and we would talk endlessly about records we love," Long explains. "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 colours 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."
10. Sultans II
March 1- City Winery Loft, New York City
March 2- World Café Live, Philadelphia, PA
March 6- Café Nine, New Haven, CT
March 7- Portland Empire, Portland, ME
March 8- Club Passim, Cambridge, MA
March 16- Jammin Java, Vienna, VA
March 22- Fat Tire Friday, New Belgium Brewery, Asheville, NC
March 24- Eddie's Attic, Decatur, GA
April 5- Fat Tire Friday, New Belgium Brewery, Fort Collins, CO
April 11- Cactus Café, Austin, TX
April 12- Poor David's Pub, Dallas, TX
April 13- Blue Door, Oklahoma City, OK
April 16- Duck Room at Blueberry Hill, St. Louis, MO
April 17- Gaslamp, Des Moines, IA
April 18- Raccoon Motel, Davenport, IA
April 19- Café Carpe, Fort Atkinson, WI
April 23-Club Cafe, Pittsburgh, PA
April 24- Rumba Cafe, Columbus, OH
April 25- Lo-Fi Lounge, Indianapolis, IN