"Using Elliott Smith's guitar while recording 'Wishbone' was the closest I will ever come to feeling anything otherworldly," says Bobby Long, above. "It was pretty incredible."


Fans of singer-songwriter Elliott Smith might have noticed a familiar sound coming from Bobby Long's latest release, "Wishbone."

Long, a longtime devotee of the late musician, had the chance to use one of Smith's guitars and amps in the session. The instrument can be heard throughout the 12-track release.

"It was the closest I will ever come to feeling anything otherworldly," Long said in a phone interview from his Brooklyn home. "A guitar is a fairly specific and personal thing. It was pretty incredible."

The British-born Long will perform the brunt of "Wishbone" when he plays Club Congress Monday.

Caliente spoke to him about the album and his past visits to Tucson.

Your tour starts soon. Are you excited? "Yeah. I am always excited. I feel like this leg of the tour is going to be really nice. All the stops are in hot places.

You've been through Tucson before. Have you enjoyed your past visits? "I have. I have a very good friend in Tucson. Being English, it is hard to get used to not being able to go outside for long periods of time, but I love it there. It is a great place."

"Wishbone" seems to have a harder feel when compared to your past folk-rock projects. Was that on purpose? "I felt like I wanted to make something heavier, that implied that I could play electric guitar and have a band. I also felt like I didn't want to be perceived as a one-trick pony. There is more to me than just the singer-songwriter aspect. I wanted to express myself in a different way."

Have you found the change in direction has appealed to fans or driven some of them away? "Doing something new as a musician is always going to be a double-edged sword. You can write the same album you've made that pleases everybody. Then people might find you boring. At the same time, if you do something new you risk losing a few people. I've been surprised how well people have taken it."

Plus, you got to use Elliott Smith's guitar. "My producer's studio is next door to Rob Schnapf's studio. Rob was Elliott's producer, and when he heard I was a fan, he offered them to us. It was great."

Has it been easy working the new tracks into your your sets? "I still play solo. It is not like I am turning up with a black leather jacket or a mohawk. I still mix it up with the other stuff."

If you go

• What: Bobby Long in concert.

• When: 7 p.m. Monday.

• Where: Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St.

• Tickets: $14-$15 through Hotel Congress, 622-8848.

Contact reporter Gerald M. Gay at ggay@azstarnet.com or 807-8430.