British singer-songwriter-guitarist Bobby Long, who is known for his powerfully evocative lyrics set to haunting melodies, has signed an agreement with Compass Records for the release of his new album, ODE TO THINKING. The CD will arrive worldwide on August 7 with U.S. and international tour dates scheduled to support the release.
Recorded last fall in Austin, TX, ODE TO THINKING is a taut collection of 11 original songs, produced by veteran producer Mark Hallman at his Congress House Studios. Long, who emerged from London's burgeoning folk music renaissance, relocated to New York in 2009, cultivating a strong fan base for his music. He has previously released two well received albums, A WINTER TALE (2011) and WISHBONE (2013) as well as a five-song EP called THE BACKING SINGER (2011) and a volume of poetry, LOSING MY BROTHERHOOD (2012).
The release of ODE TO THINKING will be supported by a U.S. concert tour that will begin in early August and initially focus on the Midwest into Texas. He will tour Europe during October followed by shows in the UK and additional U.S. dates will follow. Prior to heading out in support of the new CD, Long is set to play the Acoustic Stage at the venerable Glastonbury Festival in England on Saturday, June 27. It will be his first high profile appearance in his native country.
"This record started when I realized that the first five songs I wrote for it were probably the most personal songs I'd ever written," Long says of the new recording. "That was the start of the journey. ‘Ode to Thinking’ was one of the first songs I had written (for the album), and it was the definite turning point creatively where I felt, as I'm getting older, that I'm getting more interested in what's going on politically and socially. I now think it's really important to educate yourself and to take an interest in what's going on in the world."
The album was made possible by a highly-successful crowd-funding campaign via
PledgeMusic (www.pledgemusic.com/bobbylong) that launched last summer and allowed fans and music supporters to essentially pre-order the album even before it was recorded and along other items like specially-designed teeshirts, private shows and handwritten poems and lyrics. Long's campaign was fully-funded in four weeks-half the time allotted--and is now closing in on 800 individual pledges, each of whom will receive the digital download version of the new CD upon its release.
"It was singularly the most creative collaboration of my life," says Bobby. "I definitely felt that when I was in the studio-more so than ever before-that I was recording an album for everybody else, and especially for the people who were so generous with their time in getting the word out and with their hard-earned money. It's something I will never forget, and I feel extremely lucky to be able to have done it."
The new album brings together elements of Long's live solo shows and is based around his acoustic guitar on which he wrote all of the new songs, which differs in essential elements from his two previous releases. "The first album (A WINTER TALE) was half electric, half acoustic," he elaborates. "I walked into a studio, and the producer had put together a band to record live with. I showed the band my songs, and we worked them out as we went along. The second record (WISHBONE) was electric. I went in with a band-a bunch of guys I'd been playing with on the road. We had little time for rehearsals before so we recorded live for a bit and kind of put it together in the studio as we went along. With this record (ODE TO THINKING), it was simplified in a sense because the songs are largely based around my live shows-just me playing solo-which adds an element of honesty to it, and certainly gives the album more of a live feel. I brought the songs into the studio on my own. It felt like much more of an individual process from my point of view, and the only sharing involved was me working out ideas with the producer, which was really great this time around."
Bobby Long was born in Wigan, of George Orwell fame, and grew up in bucolic Wiltshire, the setting for many of Thomas Hardy's novels. Ironically, literature and writing eluded him until a kindly teacher took notice of his struggles at school. She introduced him to the work of Dylan Thomas, and he never looked back. Relocating to London at 17 to go to university, he had just begun to play guitar and write songs. He worked his way through the open mic night circuit, finding his voice, and armed with a degree in music for film and a carefully crafted repertoire of original songs, he headed for America in 2009.
His new home in New York informs his newest material. "It's an inspiring place, but I think the inspiring thing is to sing about things that I'd never really sung about," he explains. "Before I might have sung about certain subjects, but it was in some kind of cryptic code. I feel more comfortable singing about love because I'm in the midst of it, and I feel I'm at an age where if there's a serious discussion at the table, I can add to it and feel comfortable doing so. And I guess I'm more comfortable with my voice now too. There's definitely growth all around."
Long is partnering with Nashville-based Compass Records, a respected independent label with a history in folk and roots music, for the worldwide release of ODE TO THINKING. The album release will be supported by an extensive tour starting on August 1 at McCabe's Guitar Shop, the famed folk music venue in Los Angeles. The first U.S. leg will run for five weeks followed by a month of shows in Europe in October, where he has not played for nearly three years. Shows in the U.K. and additional U.S. shows will follow.
Confirmed ODE TO THINKING tour dates are as follows:
June 27-Acoustic Stage, Glastonbury Festival, Glastonbury, England
August 1-McCabe's Guitar Shop, Los Angeles
August 8-Jammin' Java, Vienna, VA
August 11-Club Café, Pittsburgh, PA
August 12-Musica, Akron, OH
August 13-Rumba Café, Columbus, OH
August 14-Southgate House (Revival Room), Newport, KY
August 15-The Grey Eagle, Asheville, NC
August 18-Zanzabar, Louisville, KY
August 19-Radio Radio, Indianapolis
August 20-Rozz-Tox, Rock Island, IL
August 24-The Frequency, Madison, WI
August 25-Firebird, St. Louis, MO
August 28-Record Bar Kansas City, MO
August 29-The Blue Door, Oklahoma City
August 30-Sam's Burger Joint, San Antonio, TX
September 2-Cactus Club, Austin, TX
September 3-Poor David's Pub, Dallas, TX
September 4-Warehouse Live, Houston, TX
September 25-World Café Live, Wilmington, DE
September 26-The Linda, Albany, NY
September 27-Katharine Hepburn Theatre, Old Saybrook, CT
Bobby Long will begin a month of shows in Europe on October 3 followed by a week