The last couple of years have followed an interesting path for British singer-songwriter Bobby Long. Both geographically and musically.
After learning cello and guitar by the time he was 18, when he started writing his own songs, the young and dashing Long began to set his sights on open mic nights and other ways to ensure that his music was heard as he traveled around the UK to promote his work. While playing tunes from what would become his debut EP, Dirty Pond Songs, it was a serendipitous meeting with a fellow songwriter that really altered the course of Long's future journeys.
A then-unknown vampire named Robert Pattinson, turns out, had become quite the fan of Long's. And he turned his friendship with Long into a globally-acknowledged musical partnership when the pale-faced heartthrob performed "Let Me Sign," a tune that Long co-wrote with the man who would soon melt teen-girl hearts worldwide. That notoriety helped Long enough to the point where he started playing the States -- enough shows to gain his own following, and outside of Team Edward, even.
As is the case for many artists who find a bit of quick fame, it's a tricky game, capitalizing on all the attention and trying to spin it in a way so that listeners might still care long after the pop culture phenomenon to which it's attached is forgotten. And Long's actually playing this game quite gracefully.
His just-released debut full-length, A Winter Tale, is a balanced album that stretches beyond mere acoustic folk, yet manages to respectably showcase Long's love of American folk and roots music. Possessing an aged, smoky rasp that tricks the listener into thinking he's in his late 40s instead of his early 20s, Long seems to be set for a legitimately fruitful run as an artist who might've never needed the help of a hit movie to get things rolling.
With Long coming to town tonight for a show at Poor David's Pub, we thought it would be interesting to get a taste of the tunes that Long loves the most. In the spirit of the book and movie, A Love Song for Bobby Long, the singer, born Robert Thomas Long, took some time from his touring schedule to tell us about his five favorite love songs. See his list after the jump, where you can also check out and download our favorite love song from Long's record, "Who Have You Been Loving?" courtesy of the kind folks at ATO Records
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1. "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me" by Dusty Springfield
It's such a beautiful song, and so sad, and Dusty Springfield was an incredible singer, and I believe her 100 percent when she's singing this. It tells the story of a person so in love that they just want to be around this person and that they can't help themselves is so devastating. I think we have all felt that way occasionally. I also was incredibly lucky to have English tea with Vicky Wickham, who wrote the lyrics, and she is lovely and so incredibly sweet.
2. "Feels Like Home" by Randy Newman
This is such a great, great song and so relentless. Each part sweeps you off your feet and you never want it to stop. Randy Newman is just one of the very best, and this is one off his later albums, which is even more incredible. Usually, a songwriter starts to fade, but he just has always been on top of his game. This makes you want to fall in love again.
3. "Stars Fell on Alabama" by Jack Teagarden
I love his voice, and he's my favorite singer of all time. This is such a classic song, and Mr. T does the best version of all. I'm in Alabama right now, and it makes me feel good.
4. "Why Don't We Do It In the Road" by The Beatles
Down and Dirty.
5. "In Spite of Ourselves" by John Prine
This is such a great song. Two people who recognize that they're flawed as individuals but together they make up something good. John Prine is one of America's greatest songwriters.
Bobby Long performs on Friday, April 8, at Poor David's Pub.