England born musician/songwriter/poet Bobby Long started his musical journey playing the open mic circuit in London. This is where he developed his sound and his knack for catchy melodies and hauntingly poetic lyrics. He built his fan base after “Let Me Sign,” a song he co-wrote with Marcus Foster, was sung by Robert Pattinson in the 2008 movie Twilight. Five years later, he ventured over to the states and never looked back.
It has now been six years since Long made the move to New York City and visited the places he’d read about while composing his university thesis on the social impact of American folk music. A student of the craft on a musical and intellectual level, Long’s reverence for American music runs deep, with influences ranging from country greats like Hank Williams and Ernest Tubb, to folk singers Woody Guthrie and Ramblin’ Jack Elliot, and modern day luminaries like Jeff Buckley and Elliot Smith.
Long’s first full-length album, A Winter Tale, was released in 2011, and his more rock-oriented second full length album, Wishbone, was released in 2013. Wishbone taps into a broader palate of emotion, eschewing melancholy and eloquently channeling anger and frustration into gritty, hard-driving guitar parts that complement his rough-hewn vocals on songs like “Blood In The Orchard” and All My Brothers.” Steel guitar provides an apt counter balance, adding a hint of twang and a drawn out expanse to the urgency put forth in the lyrics.
With two full-length albums under his belt, Long teamed up with musician/producer Mark Hallman to record his third full length album, Ode To Thinking, a collection of 11 songs that Long has been cultivating over the past year. With a sole focus on guitar and vocals, it will take listeners back to Long’s early days playing London’s open mic circuit. The creative process started last fall at Hallman’s Congress House Studios in Austin, Texas. Their strategy for the album was to record one song from beginning to end and then move on to the next. Hallman played bass, drums, piano and organ on the album, and also constructed harmonies to complement Long’s rich vocal melodies.
The title track on the album is an ode to global apathy and confusion. The recording opens with intricate finger-picking on the guitar. From there the album ventures into all different areas of the heart. The album will take listeners to the depths of nostalgia and memory. The lyrics of “Not Going Out Tonight” unfold like a movie in three acts, while “Kill Someone” has a story of its own that he tells during shows.
Ode To Thinking was made possible by a successful PledgeMusic campaign that was launched in the summer of 2014, receiving support from over 750 pledgers (and counting). In addition to pledging for tee shirts, posters, hand-written lyric sheets and other items, each pledger will receive a download of the album upon its release.
“It is incredibly gratifying that so many people wanted to help me make the new record,” Long says. “This community has been with me for every step of the journey to create this record, and it will be especially sweet for me to be able to deliver it directly into their hands.”
Long has come a good way from his early days playing open-mic nights in London. He now finds himself gigging at major festivals like Bonnaroo, opening for major acts such as Steve Wynwood, Iron and Wine, Rodrigo y Gabriela and Brett Dennen, and impacting popular culture with performances on late night TV shows. Yet, with all these significant accomplishments, he is always striving to grow and improve his craft while finding new avenues of expression.