The IMC Magazine Issue 7/September, 2015 - Page 10

I had the privilege of hearing Long perform one Monday night in August at the historic Lyric Theater in Lexington, Kentucky.

He was a guest on the WoodSongs Old Time Radio Hour, alongside Blues band The Andy T Nick Nixon Band from Nashville, Tennessee and a rising fifteen year old banjo player from North Carolina. (You can find the performance under the Archives on the WoodSongs webpage, episode 817).

The show was a perfect fit for Long, allowing him to sing four songs from Ode to Thinking and one of his old favorites, Penance Fire Blues. Before performing on the live radio show, which has over two million listeners in addition to a packed theater, Long was interviewed by host Michael Jonathon. He admitted to me later that he was nervous.

“I’m used to performing for 50 minutes to an hour and having breaks between performing on WoodSongs was different.” However, he really enjoyed the Grand Ole Opry style format of the show.

One of the trademarks of Long’s shows is his irreverent sense of humor and stories that give insight into his thoughtful songwriting.

I asked him if he could share a story with IMC readers. “Ahh I come from a family of story tellers and makers so there are a few,” he said. “You will have to come to a show to listen to one.” Trust me, if you can make it to a show, it is worth it if not for anything more than hearing the story behind ‘Kill Someone.’”

Part of a musical family (his father played the guitar), Long grew up playing Cello before learning the guitar.

He told the WoodSongs audience that he rebelled against becoming a musician at one point, though there was no fighting the natural progression. When Jonathon asked him what peaked his interest in becoming a singer songwriter, Long answered, “Jimmy Hendrix and girls.” The audience erupted with spontaneous applause and laughter and that answer became a punchline for the rest of the show.

Over time, Long has cultivated his fan base and his sound. The indie artist who could is now backed by Nashville-based Compass Records who are distributing his recently released album, Ode to Thinking.

“I feel like musically I'm always evolving and trying to open myself up to different genres,” Long said. From the full band/acoustic mix on A Winter’s Tale to the solely acoustic Ode to Thinking, Bobby Long’s lyrics and music reach inside the listener and pull them in to an intimate relationship with the songs and performances.

In August, Long hit the road to promote Ode to Thinking, his third album. The 11-song album takes him back to his roots of performing by himself with his trusty acoustic guitar, much like when he first toured with his homemade CD, entitled Dirty Pond Songs.

It didn’t take long for fans and music industry people to take note of his folksy, bluesy sound – reminiscent of his idols like Bob Dylan, and Johnny Cash.