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Sunday, March 1, 2015 |  Madison, WI: 15.0° F  Fog/Mist
The Daily
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British expat Bobby Long explores American traditions on Wishbone
Pond hopper
Long felt 'a gravitational pull to America.'
Long felt 'a gravitational pull to America.'

When it came time to make his sophomore album, Wishbone, British singer-songwriter Bobby Long knew he wanted to take a different path than he did on his studio debut, 2011's A Winter Tale. His life changed a lot in the interim, so it seemed natural to reflect that shift in his music. For starters, he moved to New York City from London. Adjusting to a different culture meant stepping outside his comfort zone almost daily. It was time to test his limits as an artist as well. I asked Long about this process before his March 30 show at the Frequency.

You've gotten quite interested in American music. What about it do you find so appealing, and what inspired you to use elements of it in your own music?

America is the birthplace of so many genres of music that it felt natural to come to the home of it all. I love blues, rock 'n' roll, soul and gospel, and their styles run through my music. The [appeal] is mainly because of the rawness and honesty they depict. Ever since I was a kid, I have had a gravitational pull to America.

How did writing on one coast and recording on the other, with Elliott Smith's guitar and amp, shape the lyrics and the overall feeling of the songs?

The recording was done in California, so I think that had an impact on the overall production sound. Unlike the previous record, I actually wrote all the songs in spring and summer in New York, so to me, there feels like a slightly more positive tone to the record. The season and country always have a big effect on my writing, but I guess [the music] is more based around feeling and sound than lyrics.

What was the biggest thing you learned about yourself in the studio?

That I should have more confidence in my guitar playing.

Is there a story behind the album's title, Wishbone?

I feel real lucky making music.... Also, [the title] is talking about people basing a decision on some bizarre event or belief in something.

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