British musician Bobby Long and his American “mate” Rob Dwyer, who plays the mandolin for him, visited Phoenix last week to promote Long’s album, “Wishbone,” and play some new material at the Crescent Ballroom.
Long quickly escalated to becoming a well-known indie folk and blues singer, opening for Iron and Wine, Rodrigo y Gabriela and touring the country in 2009. He is also known for co-writing the first Twilight installment’s “Let Me Sign” — sung by his good friend Robert Pattinson.
Long’s new album “Wishbone” is a complete departure from his earlier album, “A Winter Tale.”
“I think that the new one has a lot more grip to it,” Long said. “I’m playing electric a lot more, and it’s recorded on digital rather than analog, which creates a different sound.”
Influenced by Neil Young and Jimi Hendrix as well as the darker-sounding Black Sabbath, Long sticks to his folk roots but this time adds an electric aspect, serving for a solid and enjoyable new album. He also mentioned that he was influenced by the — as Long calls it — “f-ck-it-all mentality” that can be found in the punk genre.
“You know, when I go on stage, I really want to put across a really kind of, especially when I’m singing, not selling out … always being yourself, having the confidence in who you are, and that’s the most interesting thing about you,” Long said.
Growing up, he played a wide variety of instruments until he found his perfect niche in the guitar world.
“I played the recorder like everybody else, and then I played piano a little bit, then I played cello for a couple of years,” Long said. “My mom is a singer. I have a lot of musicians in the family, and everybody plays an instrument. It’s just trying to find my thing, you know?”
For Long, being born in the northern United Kingdom yet raised in the South has had a big influence on his overall sound.
Despite having recognition and a wide audience, Long disclosed that he uses GarageBand, and even his phone, to record material before he goes into the studio.
His tour mate, Rob Dwyer, is a Penn State grad who picked up the mandolin and honed his craft while studying abroad in Ireland.
“I didn’t go to class for five months and just drank and practiced mandolin,” Dwyer said. “At that time I was just playing music a lot on the street and stuff. That’s why I decided I wanted to play music and join a band.”
During his senior year, he joined a local band, The Local Support, that opened for Long in 2010. Dwyer joined Long after graduation, and since then they have embarked on tour together.
“It’s hard to find people who are like-minded and the most important thing, without doubt with touring, is touring with someone you like,” Long said.
They will tour together until the end of the month, but meanwhile they have already started giving audiences a sneak peak into their new material.
“Yeah, have been writing some new songs,” Long said. “I just want to keep making records. I’m writing all the time, and it’s always a constant battle of trying to incorporate new stuff.”
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