Bobby Long – A Winter Tale (ATO)

Singer-songwriter Bobby Long may be from the outskirts of Manchester, but like a lot of guys with an acoustic guitar and a harmonica dangling around his neck, he has been compared to a young Bob Dylan. And while a couple of his tunes may make you think of Mr. Zimmerman, the comparison is off-base and unfair.

Long got his start when one of his songs was featured in the 2008 Twilight film…apparently he is close friends with actor/heartthrob Robert Pattinson. This is not necessarily a plus for someone who is attempting a career as a serious singer-songwriter, but Long seems to have risen above that hurdle…if it is one.

On this, his first studio album, Long shows up with 11 beautifully-crafted songs. His lyrics tend to be somewhat impressionistic. On the title track he sings, “I’m shivering up a storm of roadside pines”. I’m not exactly sure what that means, but I’ve got a pretty good idea when I hear it sung by Long. He does speak directly when called for. On Who Have You Been Loving he demands an apology from his ex-lover and on A Stranger Song he closes with the line, “Well a woman with your kind of heart will always be alone”, so he certainly can’t be accused of beating around the bush.

About half the tracks feature just Long’s acoustic guitar and voice, while the others feature a full band, including the occasional steel guitar and mellotron. Maddy Reid Clarke sings harmony vocals on many of the songs and Labelle’s Nona Hendryx guests on Penance Fire Blues.

Sure, Long touches on masters of the past from time to time…Dylan, Cash, Hank Williams…but his own voice and his heartfelt songs help him to stand up for himself. I’m looking forward to what he comes up with next.

Marty Duda

Click here to listen to Who Have You Been Loving from A Winter Tale