New York, by way of England, singer songwriter Bobby Long has turned in a strong, vulnerable record for his fourth effort, Sultans. Spanning 10 tracks, Long channels everyone from Elliott Smith and Al Green to Dylan for an emotional, at times soulful journey that covers the themes of all great folk artist: love, lost love and the inevitable heartache, the staples of a great soundtrack for the lonely.
Far from being just another record in the Sad Bastard cannon of music, Long’s shrewd lyrics help him stand out from others just peddling simple break up songs. Not every song here is perfect; Occasionally, he comes off as a little too earnest (like on “Crazy”), but for every misstep, there are three or four more smartly-written tracks, like “Nautical” or “Goodbye” that make up for the stumble.
The record open with “Sultans I” and closes on the expansive “Sultans II” tying the album together nicely.
Bobby Long – Sultans/10 tracks/Compass Records/2019 /Facebook /
The video for "Nautical," a single from new album, Sultans, sees Long in a grinningly macabre mood.
Despite an affable, flannel-clad exterior, singer Bobby Long has revealed, in a new video for his song, "Nautical," a twisted side.
Long, now based in New York, hails originally from Wigan, a large town just outside the former economic powerhouse of Manchester. Its a region known for nurturing fine musicians: The Smiths, The Stone Roses, Happy Mondays, Joy Division and New Order, The Buzzcocks, Oasis, The Fall and The Verve are all associated with northern England's largest city.
A lot of what the above-mentioned groups have given the world is, mostly, variations of post-punk – a noticeable contrast with Long, whose music is a few shades lighter. His new album, Sultans, while less folky than its predecessors, still carries the upbeat mood of his previous work. Undercutting the album's generally sunny vibe, though, is the unsettling video for "Nautical," a languid seductive track that's one part Marvin Gaye and one part Dan Auerbach.
The video's narrative bears a strong resemblance to Stephen King's novel, Misery, wherein a novelist is held captive by an obsessed fan - only in this iteration, it's Long who plays the crazed kidnapper; the object of his adoration is Jack Dawson, Long's real-life friend and the producer of Sultans. As the down-tempo track — all ride cymbal and underwater electric piano — spools out lazily, we see Long incapacitate the hapless Dawson with an injection from a syringe. He wakes to find himself chained up inside a sparsely lit, filthy trailer, whose interior could be described as "serial killer chic."
An increasingly frantic opera of captivity follows as Long, dressed like a dumpy 1980s Silicon Valley programmer in a button shirt, vest, pleated slacks and coke-bottle glasses, "encourages" the frightened Dawson to perform, thrusting a guitar into his trembling hands; a species of concert is eventually put on in front of an audience of mannequins, spookily arranged in the amber, swirling dust of the trailer.
As Long explained to Billboard.com, the "Nautical" video came from his interest in puncturing the somber image he'd thus far cultivated as a folk-oriented singer-songwriter. A story featuring forced injection, abduction, and psychotic fixation may seem an unconventional way to do that, but the video is only macabre-light — Long's wholesome persona remains firmly intact. Perhaps, in the end, Long couldn't bring himself to pantomime doing anything too extreme to his longtime friend and collaborator (like re-enacting Misery's leg-breaking scene, for instance), even for the sake of art.
Say what you will about his commitment to the role of deranged abductor: Long's dedication to his own art is inarguable. Sultan is a lovingly crafted album that rattles pleasantly with the fuzz and jangle of guitar, the shimmer of keyboard, the thump of room-microphoned drums, and Long's soulful croon, that never slides into the overly earnest or insipid.
Bobby Long released his brand new album "Sultans" earlier this month and just revealed a music video for the song "Nautical", to celebrate we asked Bobby about the track and the new visual. Here is the story:
I wrote "Nautical" at the start of the writing process for what became Sultans. It was really the first completed for the album, and it set the tone and dictated the direction of the album as a whole. I had the riff for a while, but I couldn't find anything to do with it. Sometimes, you have to let a song find you, and one day it all came together. It may sound complicated or detailed, but it's really just three chords. Just like the blues actually. The lyrics are about living with yourself. It's taken me a long time to be able to feel comfortable relaxing on my own and not feeling guilty for doing it.
For the video, we wanted to play on the lyrics of the song, "I can't be alone, or be alone with you." While the lyrics originally were meant to depict the inner struggle of living with oneself, it really worked in showing the weird mind of my character in the video and him needing a 'captured muse' to be able to fulfill some weird, deprived dream by abducting a musician played by Jack Dawson, who produced the album. Jack and I are great friends, so we could be playful in the video and keep with the spirit of collaboration. The video was directed by another friend, a really talented filmmaker named Arthur Douglas.
Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen for yourself and learn more about the album right here!
Bobby Long recently performed LIVE on WNCW radio in Charlotte, NC. The radio station was very kind and broadcast a live video on FB from their studio. Those who have may have missed the broadcast can view the playback.
Remember that nice, pleasant, folky singer that Bobby Long used to be? Not on the British-born troubadour’s new video for "Nautical," premiering exclusively below from Long's latest album, Sultans.
The clip, directed by pal Arthur Douglass, depicts Long as a creepy, cardigan sweater-wearing stalker who drugs and kidnaps a musician -- played by collaborator and Sultans co-producer Jack Dawson -- from a club and holds him captive, Misery-like, in a barn shed, forcing Dawson to play a mock concert with him before an audience of mannequins and lambs. Dawson eventually escapes, but the video ends with a twist that shows us Long's sinister character is not yet finished.
"I wanted to show a different side of myself -- a bit more carefree and less serious," Long, who now lives in Jersey City, N.J., tells Billboard. "I've done, like, one music video before, but I wasn't in it. I wanted to play on the relationship between me and Jack Dawson, who's one of my best friends. When we made it, I hadn't done acting in a long time. I really turned into Johnny Deep making Pirates of the Caribbean; I was, like living the role for a day. It was really fun making it."
Long does, however, acknowledge that "Nautical" "came out slightly creepier than we thought, so I'm a little bit nervous. I hope people see the sense of humor." And, as the video's conclusion indicates, they may get a chance to see Long in that guise again. "We kind of wanted to leave it open in case we wanted to do another one, potentially, and give that (character) another story."
The image tweak comes at the same time Long made a significant musical change on Sultans. Stepping away from the folky flavor of his previous albums -- a career that started a decade ago with two self-released sets -- Sultans offers a more fully fleshed sound that Long acknowledges owes a debt to the Beatles and other Britpop of the '60s variety. "I really don't go in with each album deliberately thinking of one thing or another," Long says. "I listen to lots of different kinds of music and write lots of different kinds of songs. What you hear is a natural coming together of different influences and situations. Jack and I love the Beatles, love a lot of '60s music, and that really came to the forefront as we were doing it." And it's still there, according to Long, even as he tours to support Sultans.
"The songs I'm writing now, they're less folk-based and more kind of in the realm of the Kinks, the Beatles or the Zombies," he says. "I've always really been into that music; I just wasn’t writing those songs at the time. It feels very natural. It's just the direction that suits the songs best. That's always what I'm after."
Fri, 22 Mar Asheville, NC - "Fat Tire Friday" New Belgium Brewing Company Sun, 24 Mar Decatur, GA - Eddies Attic Tue, 26 Mar Athens, GA - The Foundry Fri, 5 Apr Fort Collins, CO - "Fat Tire Friday" New Belgium Brewing Company Thu, 11 Apr Austin, TX - Cactus Cafe Fri, 12 Apr Dallas, TX - Poor David's Pub Sat, 13 Apr Oklahoma City - The Blue Door Tue, 16 Apr St. Louis, MO - The Duck Room at Blueberry Hill Wed, 17 Apr Des Moines, IA - Gaslamp Thu, 18 Apr Davenport, IA - Racoon Motel Fri, 19 Apr Fort Atkinson, WI - Cafe Carpe Tue, 23 Apr Pittsburgh, PA - Club Cafe Wed, 24 Apr Columbus, OH - Rumba Cafe Thu, 25 Apr Indianapolis, IN - Do317 Lounge & Gallery
In July 2018, New York-based writer and editor Darren Paltrowitz launched the Paltrocast with Darren Paltrowitz in partnership with PureGrainAudio. The bi-weekly podcast features exclusive interviews with top entertainers, entrepreneurs and other influencers. More info on the Paltrocast can be found at www.puregrainaudio.com/paltrocast and www.paltrowitz.com.
Episode #017: - For this edition of the Paltrocast, Darren spoke with legendary guitarist Kane Roberts, singer/songwriter Bobby Long and comedian, actor, writer, producer and director Marlon Wayans. Points of discussion include Alice Cooper, Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein, Alissa White-Gluz, New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago and WWE Superstar Kane.
Singer/songwriter Bobby Long is originally from near Manchester, England, and now calls New York City home. His latest album "Sultans" is a rather psychedelic, Beatle-esque collaboration with multi-instrumentalist Jack Dawson, and we'll get to know Bobby and the making of this new venture of his when he visits us in Studio B before his show Friday evening at New Belgium Brewing in Asheville, NC - not to be confused with the New Belgium in Colorado, where he'll play on April 5th! Click on photo to Listen Live.
British singer-songwriter, Bobby Long, released his fourth effort, Sultans, on March 1. Sultans pays homage to Long’s love of The Beatles’ and specifically their album, Sgt. Pepper, which he grew up listening to in his family’s household located in rural Southwest England. Long emerged on the open-mic scene in England in 2009, and gained quite...
British singer-songwriter, Bobby Long, released his fourth effort, Sultans, on March 1. Sultans pays homage to Long’s love of The Beatles’ and specifically their album, Sgt. Pepper, which he grew up listening to in his family’s household located in rural Southwest England. Long emerged on the open-mic scene in England in 2009, and gained quite a bit of attention when his song was featured in the ever-popular film, “Twilight.”
He then made his home in NYC, and has since released his debut album, A Winter’s Tale (2011), then Wishbone (2013), and his previous release with Ode to Thinking (2015). Sultans was produced by Long’s friend and fellow musician, Jack Dawson. During a brief break on his tour, Long took some time to discuss Sultans, his love of The Beatles, working with Jack Dawson, his love of touring and his fun favorites. Full tour dates included after the interview below.
Let’s talk about your new album, Sultans. What was the writing and recording process like for it?
Bobby Long: It was fun and another really great recording experience. You feel like you grow every time you make an album, and this was no different.
This album pays homage to your love of The Beatles. Why did you decide now was the right time make an album centered around this?
Bobby: It wasn’t really a conscious choice. It was more of a natural occurrence that happened with the songs evolving and really dictating which direction we were moving in. I think the Beatles have always been a big influence on my music, just like The Kinks or The Zombies, but this album took on some elements that are reminiscent of The Beatles.
You’ve worked and played with Jack Dawson before. What was it like working with him again on a departure from the previous recorded material?
Bobby: We always have a great time and like being around each other, so I love working with him. He is a really talented guy and so in tune with me that it feels like I have an extension of myself at times.
You don’t tour often, so when you do you’re very intentional of where you like to perform. Why is that, and are there places that you want to tour, but haven’t yet?
Bobby: Well, I toured a lot early on in my career and having a child recently has made me want to be around him and at home more. It’s easy to get burnt out. In all honesty, I’ll happily play anywhere. But ‘anywhere’ isn’t always a place where people know who I am and will come out to see me play.
What do you most look forward to on tour?
Bobby: Getting on stage and playing songs.
Speaking of tour, I know one of your favorite places to tour at is Eddie’s Attic. After all these years performing there, what is your most favorite aspect of returning to Eddie’s Attic to perform?
Bobby: It’s just a really good place to play with really good people who work there and come out to hear music. It’s easy playing in that spot and allows me to really enjoy the experience.
What artists, current and/or upcoming, would you like to collaborate with?
Bobby: I’d like to collaborate more with my musician friends in general. It’s hard getting together as it is, and when we do, it’s easier to just hang out than work on new music.
What are you currently reading and/or listening to?
Bobby: I’m listening to Willie Nelson a lot at the moment and the Lemon Twigs. And I’m reading Puckoon by Spike Milligan again.
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