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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Londoner Long hits the desert Thursday

    Bobby Long is a long way from home. Hailing from the town of Wigan near Manchester, England, the young, 20-something singer-songwriter is in the throes of his second U.S. tour, coming to Tucson for the first time tomorrow night.

    “”I’ve been to Phoenix, but I’ve never been to Tucson,”” Long said over the phone between shows at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas. “”I’m looking forward to it … it’s always nice to be playing in a new place that I’ve never been before.””

    Long had been playing open mic sets around London before his popularity spiked by a chance encounter with Robert Pattinson, the Edward Cullen of “”Twilight”” fame. A mutual appreciation for each other’s music sparked a friendship, and eventually the inclusion of a song penned by Long and fellow musician Marcus Foster on the “”Twilight”” soundtrack. The song, “”Let Me Sign,”” was performed by Pattinson himself on film, but Long’s credit on the album triggered a snowball of popularity that the folk soloist found “”overwhelming, at first.””

    The global debut on “”Twilight”” came with its disadvantages. “”People dismiss you like, ‘Oh, you’re on a vampire soundtrack,'”” Long said through his cheery cockney accent. Ultimately, though, the song provided an exposure in the States that launched Long out of obscurity seemingly overnight.

    “”You’ll be doing this stuff for years and then all of a sudden you kind of become relevant,”” Long said. “”I think I became relevant on the ‘Twilight’ soundtrack.”” He added that, although appearing on the soundtrack was a great way to jumpstart his popularity, he has faith in the quality of his own songs and feels he could have achieved fame without the “”Twilight”” bump.

    And rightly so. Long’s stage presence resounds with the storytelling folk traditions and intimate acoustic style of artists like Bob Dylan and Neil Young, intermixed with conversational asides that recall his travels and inspirations — the stories behind the stories. This impulse to connect with audiences has left Long with varied reactions to U.S. cities during his tour.

    “”To play in New York is always an amazing experience, but often times it’s the smaller places (that I prefer) … smaller towns where just 120 people turn up and I just have more room to play,”” Long said.

    Unlike Dylan, though, Long keeps things apolitical. Though he has always been enamored with folk and the Western tradition of protest songs, Long says he strays away from overt messages in his music.

    “”I don’t want to go out and save the world,”” he said. “”I want to express myself. Maybe one day I’ll want to express myself through that medium.””

    Get your folk fix and join the talented troubadour at Club Congress tomorrow night, along with the Tacoma pop duo He is We. Just don’t expect any “”Twilight.””

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