Dirty Pond Songs, the debut album from English singer-songwriter Bobby Long, is a quiet album, a collection to put on when you're deep in thought or otherwise thinking about life's weightier matters. It's also an album indebted to many of Long's favorites, which he named in a recent RFT interview. (Read the rest here.)
"The Beatles, they're the best band in the world," he says, calling from Dallas. "Jeff Buckley and Neil Young and the Band. I really love Woody Guthrie and Leadbelly and people like that. I love old blues guys as well. Howlin' Wolf."
These influences and more will be on display on Sunday night, when Long plays at the Firebird. He's excited about St. Louis, in part because of one of our famous residents: "I really like Chuck Berry. One of the best live performers ever, I think. He's incredible." And Long sure knows his historical stuff, seeing as how he just earned his college diploma after completing a paper on the "social impact of folk music and the protest song in the '60s." (Dylan and Joan Baez are also faves.) Check out a few more outtakes after the jump.
Annie Zaleski: How long did it take you to gather the ten songs on Dirty Pond Songs? Bobby Long: To be perfectly honest, it was a real easy, comfortable thing to do. I knew I was coming to America and...needed something to sell, just to get to the next place. So I just sat in my bedroom and recorded the first ten songs I could think of. It was a real easy process - I just had the microphone and recorded them all in one session. It's kind of like a bootleg album.
It's like your Basement Tapes. Only a little more hi-fi. But more like the Flat tape. I'm the top floor of a flat in east London.
This tour is so grueling. What's the most difficult thing dealing with that? I think it's just smiling. [Laughs] I kind of wear my heart on my sleeve. At the moment, anyway. I don't want to be anywhere else [than on tour]. I want to go in the studio - and I'm gonna do that [eventually] - but I want to be out there playing my songs and going about it the same way my heroes did, which is working as hard as you possibly can and getting your songs out there and learning your craft.
The hardest thing... [is] when people [are] coming up to you, wanting some one-on-one thing. I'm really happy to do that, but someties you're so tired, you can't smile. You feel exhausted and you can't physically show the appreciation the way you want to.