‘Wishbone’ Exhibits Bluesy, Americana Influences
Published: Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 21:02
The old standard genre of the blues is making a definite come back to popular music in the form of alternative rock and country groups. Bobby Long is one of the select few artists who is willing and capable of carrying the bygone blues back into the spotlight. And with a new album titled Wishbone, his audience should have a pretty good idea of what to expect. Long delivers a collection of songs with all the longing and heartache of a veteran American blues wailer. However, the Brit, out of Manchester England, keeps a relatively fast paced alt-country theme to his record, bringing the blues into the 21st century.
The entire album screams Americana, starting at the very first note. The electric guitar and dobro act as a jarring musical backdrop to Long’s raspy vocals. For the rest of the album this would be the standard: tough hard hitting electric guitar with the country twang of a dobro and the pained singing often associated the blues genre. Though the music is enjoyable, most of the songs sound pretty much the same. Even the acoustic tracks conform to the same sort of musical structure. In many ways this album meets the exact specifications of the classic modern independent blues album, which is nice and absolutely a great genre of music. The issue is the songs have a bit of a stock feel to them, as if the listener has heard them before somewhere. The songs themselves, while enjoyable, are strikingly formulaic and do not show a lot of experimentation or growth.
What is surprising about the lack of diversity in the album is just how different this album sounds compared to its predecessor. A quick search of Long’s name on YouTube yields pages worth of videos of a man holding an acoustic guitar, certainly not a highly featured instrument on this record. Long’s roots are that of a more romantic songwriter strumming an acoustic six string and singing songs about heartache. Though he has certainly matured on this new album, it seems he stuck with one type of song.
If the listener looks past the one sidedness of the music then they can recognize the real high point of the record, it’s lyrics. After listening to Wishbone there is simply no doubt that Long is an incredibly talented singer songwriter (a not so common trait in popular music today). He sings about lost love, heartache, and the willingness to sacrifice for someone, pretty common themes on a folk record. In one song specifically his words reflect just how much he was ready to do or give up just to keep this person safe, there was a clear reflection of Carole King’s “You’ve Got a Friend” which provides a heartwarming change of pace from the darker loneliness motif surrounding the rest of the tracks.
Fans of the alt-country genre will absolutely enjoy this little piece of Americana, with a sound reminiscent of Ryan Adams and even a little bit of Bruce Springsteen mixed in, Long truly hits the mark when it comes to putting together a blues record. Though all of the songs on the album proved to be an enjoyable listen, they all sound a bit too similar which makes the album somewhat boring. There was no real standout track that defines this album. Instead, the musical theme really gives Wishbone its definition. The album is somewhat forgettable, but the music is consistent and the lyricism is profound. Long certainly has come a long way, and he has plenty of potential. Though it isn’t a hit, it is definitely a sign of great things to come.