Bobby Long: Ode To Thinking

review long x1 cong

We’ve not heard of Mr Long before but the interweb informs that he had a tune in the first Twilight film and apparently has such a strong fanbase that he fan-funded this album in a little over a month.
It’s a simple but powerful album, with Long leading the way on acoustic guitar and vocals; his songs are robust tunes in a way that reminded us of Frank Turner, not so much in sound but in the fact that songs are all bolted together with man-sized nuts and girders.
It was produced and recorded in Austin and has a similar sound to one of our favourite singers, Bob Schneider (who we urge you to check out). Perhaps this is the Austin sound: tight, crisp and with all the fat cut off. Austin is a city of musicians and we guess standards are high, and there’s no tolerance of superfluous extras.
The album opens in acoustic mode with the title track, a subtle folky tune in which Englishman Long sounds his most American, like a bearded soulful veteran from the Heartlands. There’s some nice organ in there and the organ continues into track two, Cold Hearted Love Of Mine, a straightforward sad song about a broken heart. (Long plays guitar and sings, producer Mark Hallman plays that organ as well bass and drums, harmonica, piano and accordion).
Track three like I’m Not Going Out Tonight picks up the pace of the record, a catchy hook tune with a more assertive vocal tone somewhere close to Steve Earle. Treat Me Like A Stranger is a crisp acoustic track; slower, with some nicely picked acoustic guitar and lap steel from Hallman
That’s about it, really: tracks based on acoustic guitar with a sound that varies from the more introspective Elliott Smith sound, to livelier tracks with a Steve Earle/country sound. You could also compare him to the likes of Cohen/Dylan or Calexico/Iron and Wine.
Lyrically, he’s a bit of poet and the topics are both personal and tackle broad issues. The title track is perhaps about the danger of thinking (“No-one can ever find the answers” he sings before noting: “We’ve unchained a monster/That left me feeling unwell”).
Cold Hearted Love Of Mine is . . . well, guess: “She don’t think she’s wrong, she just thinks it’s easy/Somebody should let her know that I shouldn’t be the one”.
Other songs deal with wider issues, the most vitriolic being Kill Someone, about a lying, feckless racist preaching hate: “He’s fighting for justice and praying for God/While he misspells his name”.
Powerful lyrics, talented songwriter. Make some room, Frank Turner.

About jerobear

Weekly newspaper editor in Cheshire, England. I blog my editorials and the CDs I write about. I play drums, drink coffee, play music, meditate. I hate filling in forms.

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