With the release of his studio debut A Winter Tale, produced by the always brilliant recording engineer Liam Watson (White Stripes), Long will be quick to pick up a presence in the United States much like he became a fixture at London’s open mic nights as a student attending London Metropolitan University.
Surprisingly down to earth (the possible by-product of growing up in a remote area), Long delivers what can be best described as poetic melodies underscored by elusive, imaginative lyrics. He says they come largely from his subconscious.
A Winter Tale by Bobby Long is raw and original music that touches America as much as England.
Fresh off a thesis titled The Social Impact of American Folk Music, Long went on to write Let Me Sign, which Robert Pattinson sung for the film Twilight. This time around, all the music appearing on A Winter Tale is performed as intended, with Long delivering intensely personal lyrics that only those fortunate enough to see him live or catch his bedroom-produced Dirty Pond Songs EP can attest to.
One of the first interviews to break out appears on Gibson, primarily because of his appreciation for the J-200. It was the first guitar he bought in America after seeing it on the cover of Bob Dylan’s Nashville Skyline.
"I love Dylan; I own his entire catalog," he said in the interview. "He’s definitely one of my favorite songwriters and lyricists so I’ll always consider him a major influence."
Dylan is not alone. Long has been gracious in giving props to Jimi Hendrix, Albert King, Tony Iommi, and a slew of blues and jazz musicians. While he doesn't mind the comparisons, once saying it beats a comparison to Bananarama, no one here is hearing the early Dylan as much as the first Bobby Long. If A Winter Tale proves to be a glimpse of things to come, new musicians will be listing Long among their influences in the next few years.
In sum, A Winter Tale is a coarser, often picked brand of folk rock with the broodingly balanced The Bounty Of Mary Jane, steadily straightforward In The Frost, brilliantly written Dead And Gone, and folk-infused minor key Being A Mockingbird all among the standouts. Penance Fire Blues also breaks great once it gets moving. A Winter Tale and Who Have You Been Loving are already fan favorites.
A Winter Tale By Bobby Long Goes Long With 8.6 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale.
Long is a prolific and confident poet armed with a guitar. And the decision to record live with a full band was brilliant, given he is someone you want to see live. What you won't see live, of course, are contributors like Nona Hendryx (LaBelle), B. J. Cole (Elton John, Sting), and Lay Low (an Icelandic singer).
Bobby Long's A Winter Tale is available on iTunes, with Two Tone Lover as a bonus track for anyone buying the album. A Winter Tale is also on Amazon. ATO Records is doing an excellent job helping to promote the upstart by releasing an equally honest digital documentary about the singer.
Photo credit by James Minchin.