Losing My Brotherhood

Singer Bobby Long’s Long Awaited Poetry Book, Losing My Brotherhood, Is Released!

British singer-songwriter (and longtime MAC WIRE friend) Bobby Long is
adding “author” to his list of descriptive hyphenates with the publication of
his first collection of poetry entitled LOSING
.  The book is published
by SGO Music Publishing and will be available from amazon.com and other publishing
Long began compiling the volume last
year while touring in support of his debut album, A WINTER TALE.  “I was on the road for four months straight,
basically in the back of a van, and I got sick of playing with my phone and
playing with my laptop, and I decided to go for it fully,” he says.  “I would write every morning, and then go for
coffee for a break, and I took a really disciplined stance to it.  When I got home, sometimes I wouldn’t leave
my apartment all day and just write.  The
discipline aspect allowed me to separate the poems from my music.”
The provocative collection delves into
various universal themes, among them love, desire and disappointment with a
healthy dose of memory and reflection. 
The title stems from Long’s realization of what he left behind when he
abruptly moved from London to New York to pursue his music career in 2010.  “I left my family and my friends, and I just
went and didn’t really say good-bye to anyone,” he recalls.  “’Losing My Brotherhood’ refers to a specific
group of three close friends who I lived with in London for four years and
shared everything with, and who I don’t get a chance to see anymore. We were
like brothers, but I know that time is now over.  It’s a tribute, really.” 

One of those three friends is artist
and musician Ben Edge, who contributed the 15 bold pen and ink drawings that
illustrate the book.  “We always wanted
to work on something together,” says Long, “and this was the perfect
opportunity.  I sent him the poems, and
he drew the illustrations free hand.”
Born near Manchester in Wigan (of
George Orwell fame), Bobby Long grew up in a small town in Wiltshire, a setting
for another of Britain’s revered writers, Thomas Hardy.  Although he has been writing poetry and prose
since the age of 12, becoming a writer was not pre-ordained.  A poor student who struggled at school, he
felt like an outsider until an astute teacher recognized his learning deficits
and helped him to discover the joy of reading.  “I never kept a journal or a diary, just lines
on little slips of paper, words on a page,” he explains.  “I never told anyone at school that I wrote,
or I would have been beaten up.  At the
start, it was more of an expressive thing. 
I was a dreamer, and I would get lost in my own imagination.  Now, I try to write something every day.”
A number of the poems in LOSING MY BROTHERHOOD deal with
memories of childhood and growing up in rural England.  “I wrote most of those poems while I was on
tour in Australia at Byron Bay,” Long recalls. 
“I was there on a beautiful day and didn’t want to go swimming alone—I
actually didn’t like being on my own there at all.  Sometimes it’s hard to get away from your
surroundings, but I wrote five different poems that day.  I went far deeper in the poems than I do in
my songs.  I often write from the
passenger seat as an observer.  The poems
are far more personal, with no guitar to hide behind.”    
At 18, Long moved to London to attend
university, graduating with a degree in sound
and media for film.  He quickly
himself as a musician on the local open mic circuit, finding his voice and creating
songs characterized by catchy melodies paired with elusive, imaginative
lyrics.  There he met a circle of fellow
musicians, among them the brotherhood
of the book’s title.    
In 2009, after amassing a loyal fan
base for his music, America beckoned, and following nearly a year of touring,
Bobby relocated to New York City, which became a new muse for his writing.  “I feel more at home in New York than I have
anywhere else,” says the 26-year-old, who incorporates the city’s sights, streets,
sounds and smells into several of his poems. 
“I have a comfortable life where I can express myself on a full time
basis and make a living at it.  It’s very
different from my life in England.” 

The cover of LOSING MY BROTHERHOOD (designed by Tim McCarthy) features a photograph
 Four Mennonite Farmers by New
York-based photographer William Waldron (
williamwaldron.com).  Says
Long:  “It’s four farmers, each with
different hats on, all looking in different directions.  I thought that it depicted me and my three
friends, and it felt like it was vast and never-ending.  I contacted the photographer’s manager to ask
if I could use it.”
Long’s deft songwriting skills have
amassed critical acclaim, the Los Angeles
for example, stating “his tunes are sturdy, but graceful, like the curve
of something hand-carved.”   “Raw,”
“organic,” “earnest,” “romantic” and “poignant” are among the adjectives used
to describe his songs, many of which can also be applied to his poetry.
Long’s own tastes in poetry range
widely from Pablo Neruda and Dylan Thomas to Féderico García Lorca and Leonard
Cohen.  The book includes a poem
dedicated to Mr. Cohen, who began his own career writing poetry before turning
to songwriting and performing.   While LOSING MY BROTHERHOOD is Long’s newest
project, he isn’t planning to incorporate poetry into his musical
performances.  “They are two separate
things,” he says.  “The book is a very
personal thing.”
Bobby Long has just completed the
recording of his second album of original material, produced in Los Angeles by
Ted Hutt (Flogging Molly, Gaslight Anthem, Old Crow Medicine Show).  It is slated for release by ATO Records in
the fall.  Long is currently on tour
opening for Steve Winwood and will announce summer concert plans shortly as
well as fall tour dates in support of his forthcoming album.
For more info, go to www.bobbylong.info.

(Top two photos courtesy W3 Communications; bottom photo of Bobby’s in-store appearance at the Barnes & Noble in “The Grove” courtesy Barnes & Noble.)