Bay Area Bluegrass & Americana Songwriter Eric Long Releases Single ‘Bluebird’ & Full Record ‘Looking Up’

San Francisco-based folk slide guitarist, Eric Long, draws much musical inspiration from the country-crooners-meets-blues trifecta composed of Taj Mahal, Charlie Parr, and Keb Mo to name a few.

His gravelly tone strikes a rare balance with the equally sweet story line known to each song. His new uplifting ditty, “Bluebird,” articulates the emotions you might go through, upon recognizing all that you’ve gained from love lost. From his new album, Looking Up, which is available everywhere as of this article, the opening percussive train beat seems to signify the beauty of the unknown and the wonderment in moving forward.

Originally hailing from Pennsylvania, the flaxen-haired Americana musician’s album is reminiscent of a late-summer day with a cloudless sky as the backdrop. The slide guitar characteristic to Long’s style pays homage to classic country’s timelessness. You know, that sound that takes you back to the wild west, where there’s always a spittoon in reach (am I the only one still waiting on a cinematic bar fight to break out in a saloon)?

During this unprecedented time, artists, educators, and local businesses are adjusting to virtual life so that we can all build some semblance of normalcy. With these great existential shifts, comes great shifts in artistry too. And what better time than now to support music that’s a perfect addition to your reason-for-optimism soundtrack?

We asked Eric about his releases, how he’s keeping busy, and much more.

So what’s the inspiration behind your newest single, “Bluebird”? “Bluebird” is a song about love’s redemption and about letting go. 

Is it part of an upcoming EP/LP or just a standalone single? It’s one of 10 songs off my record Looking Up which came out Friday, March 27th. 

Where was it recorded and who was involved? We tracked live to tape at Prairie Sun Recording Studio, working with engineer Oz Fritz (Tom Waits, John Hammond) in the famous Waits Room. Rhyne Erde on drums, David Pascoe on mandolin, Thom Beneduci on upright bass, Dave Zirbel on pedal steel and myself on guitar. Oz also mixed the record.

What’s next musically? Touring is off for a while, so it’s time to dive back in and write the next record. I like to keep busy.

Describe your songwriting process: I can usually get through a rough sketch of a song or at least a verse or two, and then for me it’s all about the re-writes. “Bluebird” probably had about 10 re-writes before I felt really good about it. 

Three records on a desert island:

Jimmy Buffet – Buried Treasure Box Set.

John Prine – John Prine

Taj Mahal – An Evening of Acoustic Music.

Song/artist you can’t stop listening to: Taj Mahal.

Favorite way to spend a Friday night: Good friends, good food, v good music, & good friends.

Favorite part about living in the Bay Area: So I live in San Francisco out near the beach which I love, but when I lived in Oakland, I loved being over by Lake Merritt. 

Dream show: (venue, supporting acts, etc.) Opening for John Price in some seated 500-cap room in Europe.

Would you rather win a Grammy or tour the world with an act of your choice? I love playing live and always have. Just about as much as I love traveling, so this one’s a bit of a no-brainer! I don’t necessarily think my music is right for a Grammy anyways. 

What the rest of 2020 might have in store for Eric Long: (aside from the current quarantine): Just like everyone else I’m kind of scratching my head here with the effects of COVID 19, but I’ll find something to do. I’d still love to tour, but have yet to dive back into rerouting tour runs as I’ve been focused on the record.

Closing words: Many thanks for having me. 

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