DECEMBER 6, 2018

http://www.rockwired.com/CapitalLTimes.jpgong referred to as JONATHON "BOOGIE" LONG within blues circles, it has been brought to my attention that the middle name "BOOGIE" has been dropped. I can't believe I didn't get round to asking this Baton Rouge-based singer-songwriter why.  For years, the guitarist and singer has been a progenitor of the blues sound that his immediate surroundings are famous for. Now, LONG has taken off in a slightly different musical direction with the release of his new, self-titled album on WILD HEART RECORDS - the label founded by blues artist and guitarist SAMANTHA FISH. Not only had FISH given LONG a home with her fledgling label, she had assumed the seat behind the recording console and allowed LONG to cut loose. This self-titled release showcases a blues troubadour at an exciting crossroads. LONG breaks free of the restrictions of the blues and steps into rockier, edgier Americana-styled territory with the kind of songwriting approach that can be heard by the likes of contemporaries such as MIKE ZITO or JOHN HIATT. The first single BURY ME sounds heavy at first, but the moody slow burner is a celebration of a life that was lived joyously and honestly. ROCKWIRED had a chance to speak with JONATHAN LONG regarding his new album shortly after it's release. Here is how the interview went.

Your self-titled album is out now through WILD HEART RECORDS. Now that the album is out there for people to get a listen to, how do you feel about the finished work?
Man I love it! I think it sounds as good as it can get. It's got the raw feel to it and I think that was partially due to the recording location and the way that we practiced the material. It was a really comfortable place to record. It was the this big basement studio. It was just a cut above being a home studio setting. The whole situation was really comfortable and because of that, the album came out feeling home-y in a way. It just feels like a Southern record. I love the fact that I was able to do so many different styles of music because some of my previous management had put me in more of a blues direction. I've always been rooted in the blues  but I always wanted to write other stuff like Americana and stuff that has more of a rock edge to it. On this album, I take the blues to other places and I just like having that freedom to express myself and have a team behind me to help express those ideas.


In putting this album you had SAMANTHA FISH helping you out with production. Describe what it was like working with her.
There were a couple of moments where I would have a complicated drum pattern that I was hearing for a song. Sometimes I get a little busy  just because of my influences and the stuff I've listened to growing up. SAMANTHA would like reel it back to a more comfortable space and she had a lot of insight on where to go vocally so that I wasn't stretching so much. Sometimes I would push vocals and she would say "You don't have to deliver it that hard." She's got a lot of studio experience and she's worked with a lot of producers and because of that, she's got a lot of experience and knowledge. All of my past records were pretty much self produced, so to work with somebody else who has  production experience on the major side of the industry was good . It was refreshing and it was the right fit.

What has inspired this set of songs on the album. Where do these songs come from? 
I'm always writing. I'm constantly writing songs and the songs on this album come from a collection of songs I wrote between the last album and this album. I wrote a lot of songs but these were the songs that were closest to my heart and they say a lot of different things. You have BURY ME which talks about not being a very vain person. I'll wear the expensive cologne after I'm dead. The only thing I know how to do is write the blues and shoot a little pool and that's what I'm going to do with my life. I'm just enjoying life. I could go through all of the songs but my main  point and my main goal is to write songs with positive messages that put things in a positive light and talk about love and living life in a constructive manner as opposed to one that is not so constructive. There is a lot of dirty music out there. There is a lot of music that's vulgar and I just want to be positive and write about things that are positive. As with any writer, I write what I know. It's important for me to uplift people as opposed to bringing them down after hearing the album.

In the beginning, what inspired you to pick up the guitar and sing? Where does the drive come from?
Just to give you a quick chronological run down, I always watched my grandfather playing guitar in church when I was growing up. He was the minister and my parents were street ministers and they would perform for the congregation for all of these church functions. Growing up, I always had guitars in my hand. I think I first picked up a guitar when I was six but I didn't really learn how to play until I was about eight and a half. My father, on his birthday, bought me a guitar and I started taking lessons. I always played in church and I always had people in church showing me stuff and whatever. When I was eleven years old, a singer-songwriter here in Baton Rouge named DIXIE ROSE invited me to play guitar for her. That was my first playing gig. From there, I started to network. When I was 12 or thirteen I found out about the SWAMP MAMA's BLUES JAM  on Sunday Nights. It was a restaurant bar and I was able to get in  there with my folks. Through that experience, I got to sit and play with all of these great Baton Rouge blues players like LARRY GARNER, KENNY NEAL, CHRIS ALEXANDER and JOHN LISI. When I was sixteen, it was this blues artist out of Colorado named HOWARD "SUNDANZE" DUNSTON who suggested to me that I needed to open my mouth and sing. He said that if I didn't, I would just be another guitar player and those are a dime a dozen. He told me that I needed to have my own voice. I always sang. I sang in choir since I was about eight or nine. I always had a voice but I needed my own voice. That was when I really started to do my own thing. That was when I started writing my own stuff.  


How does the songwriting process work for you? How do you go about it?
It comes together in a lot of different ways. Sometimes, I come up with a line that I can't get it out of my head and I roll with the idea and write stories around that idea. I've experienced a lot of things and I'm usually good at coming up with story ideas. A lot of my more Americana type music has a lot stories. In fact, I wrote a song a couple of days ago about meeting a waitress in a diner. The chorus goes: "We talked religion and politics and we never raised our voices." You always hear that the two things that you are never supposed to discuss are religion and politics because it always it always ends in a fight. With this song, it was a way of taking a positive approach tot he subject matter. I thought it was a cool hook for a song. I try to come up with ideas like that and then try to build on it and come up with a narrative around it.

What songs off of the album have you the most excited to get people to hear and why?
Everybody likes BURY ME, which is the opening track. My favorite song on the album is THE LIGHT.  I also like PRAY FOR ME and NATURAL GIRL.  NATURAL GIRL is a great Southern rock song that would be perfect for radio. I really like LIVING THE BLUES and that one goes out to all of my blues fans.  There are so many cool songs and cool arrangements on the album that it's hard for me to single anything out.  I really think that a song like LIVING THE BLUES has the potential to speak to a lot of people. There are a lot of people who are living the blues. There are a lot of people out there who are down and out. You're either very rich or you're really struggling. It's very hard to find middle ground these days.  THE LIGHT is all about finding th light of God.  No matter how dark it gets, there is always a light somewhere.  Once again, it's all about uplifting people. I never want people to leave my show sfeeling negative at all.


With the release of this album, what is the big idea? What would you like ofr people to come away with after they hear the album?
That we're here to rock  The one thing I'll say is that seeing the live show is way different from listening to the album.  My major goal is that this album will lead to a lot more touring opportunities and playing as many shows as possible. We're actually going to follow up this album with a live album so that we can capture this moment on an album. As far as this album goes, I want people to realize that it's all going to be okay. That is the vibe of the album. God has our back and its' all going to be okay, no matter how bad it gets or how down and out you are. In the long run, it's all going to be good. 


http://www.rockwired.com/CapitalB.jpgrian Lush is a music industry professional and entrepreneur. In 2005 he launched the online music site Rockwired.com to help promote new music artists in conjunction with the weekly radio show Rockwired Live which aired on KTSTFM.COM from 2005 - 2009. In 2010 He launched the daily podcast series Rockwired Radio Profiles which features exclusive interviews and music. He has also developed and produced the online radio shows Jazzed and Blue - Profiles in Blues and Jazz, Aboriginal Sounds - A Celebration of American Indian and First Nations Music, The Rockwired Rock N Roll Mixtape Show and The Rockwired Artist of the Month Showcase. In 2012, Brian Lush and his company Rockwired Media LLC launched the monthly digital online publication Rockwired Magazine. The magazine attracts over 75,000 readers a month and shows no signs of stopping. Rockwired Magazine also bares the distinction of being the first American Indian-owned rock magazine. Brian Lush is an enrolled member of the Yankton Sioux Tribe. Brian Lush's background in music journalism, radio and podcast hosting, podcast production, web design, publicity, advertising sales, social media and online marketing, strategic editorial planning and branding have all made Rockwired a name that is trusted and respected throughout the independent music industry.

CONTACT BRiAN LUSH AT: djlush@rockwired.com