Bobby Long is British. This might come as a surprise to anyone who has only heard his music, as he has perfectly fused American rock, country, and blues into a unique style perfectly suited to his rough-hewn, gritty vocals. Add to that lyrics with real depth and an ear for a captivating turn of phrase and Long’s second CD, Wishbone, is a worthy edition to your music collection.
Long’s songs are passionate and full of angst, with moments of great tenderness as well. The guitar, bass, and pedal steel work together to provide a balanced musical framework for those remarkable, dense, emotional lyrics.
“Devil Moon,” the opening song, sounds like a roadhouse song with a relatively fast beat. It is followed by “She Won’t Leave,” which is more thoughtful and has a Counting Crows sort of vibe, as does “In Your Way,” with that ragged vocal that sounds like it comes from an much older singer than Long actually is (27 years old).
The next four songs, “Blood in the Orchard,” “Help You Mend,” “Making You Talk,” and “All My Brothers,” are the highlights of the CD for me. “Blood In the Orchard” is a dramatic song suited to its dramatic title, with a memorable chorus in which Long assures his girl that “You’re not a duty of mine/You’re here to walk your own line.”
“Help You Mend” is the tenderest song on the CD, and the pedal steel guitar is the perfect accompaniment. “Making You Talk” is this reviewer’s favorite song on the CD, and a great country rock song with just the right amount of anguish in Long’s voice. It is followed by “All My Brothers,” which sounds like it’s being sung by a man who’s been fighting for a long, long time.
The remaining songs, with the exception of “Yesterday, Yesterday” are all slow to medium songs with an emphasis on storytelling. They get better with every listen. “Yesterday, Yesterday,” is more of a rocker.
While the entire CD sounds good from the first time you hear it, it really does impress the listener more and more with each hearing. The music and the lyrics meld so perfectly and Long’s voice is so suited to his material, but once you are accustomed to how good it sounds you can really listen to the words.
This CD is highly recommended to anyone who appreciates Americana music (even when done by a Brit) and strong singer-songwriters.