bobby longSometime during the fall of 2008, I stumbled upon a singer-songwriter from the UK through a series of randomness and a hopeful search of another artist’s ‘Top Friends’ on their MySpace page. (Yes…MySpace. Remember those days?) I remember listening to the five songs he had on his playlist thinking that he has such a soothing voice and an old soul. What I could have never guessed was how those first few songs, and the man singing them, were about to transform everything in my little world.

Bobby Long and his music were just the beginning of an amazing musical roller coaster ride that I am still thoroughly enjoying. I was thrown into a whirlwind of promoting him and two of his close friends, Marcus Foster and Sam Bradley. I traveled all over America, managed their Street Teams, organized their merchandise for shows, arranged rides and accommodations for them in different cities. I met many others who were also on their own musical journeys. We became friends and watched as these musicians inspired each of us to follow our own dreams. Promoting these artists led me to starting my own Podcast, Dreamers Radio, which brought even more people to my world who would continue to inspire me. I promoted unsigned musicians like Bobby, Marcus and Sam on my shows, and I learned that there is an entire universe of music that will never grace the airwaves of our local radio stations. Music that is so good…so inspiring…so delicious to the ears and to the soul. The memories and emotions tied to the music that I now love have become a permanent part of me. I have Bobby, Sam and Marcus to thank for that.

The most important part of my journey was when I started writing again. I began by journaling my musical adventures online. I wrote short stories and reviews for fun. People were reading my words and enjoying my work. That gave me the courage to take more chances and challenge myself with my writing. Suddenly, I became a writer in demand. This is part of my story that led me to the creators of Artist View and being able to share this story on their blog. I am still working towards my dream and I will never stop evolving into the artist I was born to be.

 

 

Six years ago, Bobby Long was playing open mic nights in the basements of London pubs. Through a mix of talent, a little bit of luck, long days, even longer nights and a ridiculously dedicated fan base, his life was changed seemingly overnight. Having been a witness to his blossoming career, his music is woven into my soul. I told him once, “Your guitar plays the soundtrack to my life”.

“I gave up myself to the dawning of the morning bird in first flight. I thought I ran the road of the pauper, I lost it all in the night”

My interactions with Bobby have since dwindled. He was signed to ATO Records and my life was completely altered by a divorce and a shift in priorities. But I still continued to follow his career from the comfort of my cubicle. As the days passed, I searched for my place in this new world, so did Bobby. I feel as though I could never dislike one of his songs, but I will say that it was evident that he spent a couple years working though his sound and finding his voice. It’s all a game of chance, trial and error and reinventing yourself over and over again.

Until one day, it all just falls into place.

A few weeks ago, I plugged my headphones in and pressed ott-cvr-bobby-longplay on his newest album, “Ode to Thinking”. The first chords seemed to say “Welcome back Lizzy”. I was greeted by the comforting sounds of his fingers picking at his guitar’s strings. A smile grew across my face as I took in the melody. Then he began to sing.

“Break the branch upon the willow, no bird will want to sing today.”

Everything stopped in my present surroundings. All that existed was his voice. It was the same voice that helped me through the hard days and inspired me simultaneously, but something was different. Bolder. Confidence pours from every lyric. “Tell the lost that no one’s looking, tell the found that no one cares.” His life, the miles, the trials are heard in his voice. In the past, there was a mystery to his stories. He has grown into himself, unafraid to ‘exchange the dark for the darkness’.

“No bitter past could try to unmask the truthful words you’ve been saying.”

Bobby bears his soul to us in this album. Each song taking on a personality of their own. Each telling another part of his ‘passing tale’. If I had to pick a favorite, it would be a daunting task. Is it “Treat Me Like a Stranger” with its heavy-hearted pain and longing? Or is it “Something Blue, Something Borrowed” which, in true Bobby fashion, his play on words had me thinking one way only to be completely caught off guard by the truth. Or maybe it’s “The Dark Won’t Get Darker” with its haunting harmonies and hints of a man dancing with the devil himself. Am I drawn to his songs of hurt and sadness because my life reflected these feelings in the recent past? Maybe. Or could the happiest of hearts hear the pain and reflection in his words? He has loved hard and lost his way. He shares his hurt, questions and musings with a collection of words only Bobby can manage to use in a song. This is the Bobby Long I fell in love with six years ago only older and weathered by the tides of life.

“Cause my day is death. My night is dark. My love won’t answer the call. With the rain like steel upon my face, my heart is certain to fall.”

If there is one thing I have to say about this album, it is this: “Ode to Thinking” not only embodies the beauty of Bobby Long as a musician and an artist, it is a true testimony of a man who never stopped following his dream. This is his best album to date; which is difficult for me to say because his earlier, self-released albums have remained some of my favorites for many years. His sound is timeless. His narration speaks like a memoir. And I believe that any lover of tales told to the strum of an acoustic guitar will appreciate the stories of Bobby Long.

 

Visit Bobby’s website or follow him on Facebook or Twitter.

Cheers to an amazing album Bobby. “I don’t know where I’m heading to, but at least I know where I’ve been.” x

Extended Plays is an ongoing music series written by myself and my partner James. We listen to music, go with our gut and spill our honest and sometimes brutal opinion all over this blog. We hope you take the time to check out the artists we review for yourselves. We tend to believe that we are always right about everything but the most beautiful thing about music is that our opinion doesn’t matter to anyone but ourselves.

 

 

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