MUSIC REVIEW - Bobby Long, Ode to Thinking, Compass Records - Out Now.

Wigan-born singer-songwriter Bobby Long.  Photo by Jamie Strachan.
Wigan-born singer-songwriter Bobby Long. Photo by Jamie Strachan.
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State of the union and songs from the heart

It would come as no surprise to this reviewer if songs from Bobby Long’s latest album Ode to Thinking end up being played during next year’s US presidential election campaign.

The Wigan-born, New York City-based singer-songwriter has managed to distill the so-called “American Dream” and its complicated reality in the space of 11 songs and after just six years living stateside.

Title track Ode to Thinking is a running commentary on the USA’s consumer culture, Cold-Hearted Lover of Mine (track two) is more personal and speaks of a relationship breakdown to the point of no return.

Other songs such as Treat Me Like a Stranger, Something Blue, Something Borrowed and The Dark Won’t Get Darker touch on issues from suicide and domestic violence to social unrest and racial tensions.

Given the current debate in the USA about gun ownership and the “the right of the people to keep and bear arms”, Long’s answer is the song Kill Someone - a fitting soundtrack to the new US TV Series Hand of God about a morally corrupt judge.

Bobby Long just might be about to emulate his musical heroes Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan.

Review by Winston Brown