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British native Bobby Long embraces American sound

For Journal Register Newspapers

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You won't find too many singer-songwriters that sound more American than Bobby Long. Even though he was born in Britain.

But Long -- whose big break came in 2008, when his song "Let Me Sign" was used on the first "Twilight" film soundtrack -- has long been a fan of American music styles and bands, and he says that living in New York for the past several years has only heightened his appreciation.

"That's always been a massive factor," explains Long, 24, who recently released a new album, "Wishbone." "When I first moved here, some of my favorite bands, like Big Star and the Jayhawks and Mother Hips, even Tom Petty, didn't make sense to me in England. Growing up in all the rain, when you hear a song by one of those guys, you don't know where it's coming from. It sounds otherworldly. A Neil Young song about Alabama, it doesn't associate with anything I was brought up with.

"But since I moved here, all that music makes more sense now. I have a physical picture to base it on. So living here has had a real effect on me in writing in more of, I guess, an American vein."

"Wishbone" also represents the fullest-sounding recording Long has made to date. Thanks to plenty of pre-production with producer Ted Hutt, the material was well-prepared before Long and company hit the studio, with a marked impact on the arrangements and dynamics.

"I wanted to be in a band. I was sick and tired of being on my own," Long says. "I would play festivals with must me and an acoustic (guitar), and it was great, but I wanted to be loud and have an impact, you know?

"And I wanted to make a youthful record. I felt like I'd done things backwards; the songs I wrote three years ago were songs a 40- or 50-year-old man would write. Now I'm honing in to being kind of my age, early or mid-20s. It was natural progression, but it's definitely where I want to be now."

Bobby Long and MIchael Bernard Fitzgerald perform Thursday, March 28, at the Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward Ave, Ferndale. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10. Call 248-544-3030 or visit www.themagicbag.com.

Web Site: www.themagicbag.com

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