John Long

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John Long

In a world where everyone adopts a gimmick, an angle, a pose in order to get over, John Long is a living anachronism. He is a 100% pure, dyed-in-the-wool, no-BS bluesman for life. He was born, raised and bred on the blues. It’s not a ‘career choice’ for Long, not just a type of music he plays, or something he happened to be influenced by at some point. He’s not a blues player, he’s a Bluesman, with a capital B.

John Long was born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1950. Influenced by his older brother Claude (who is a dedicated and accomplished blues musician in his own right), John immersed himself in the blues at a very young age. As many had done before, Long moved to Chicago in the early ‘70s and plunged directly into the Windy City blues scene. It was in Chicago that Long met the man he would refer to as his adoptive father, Homesick James. James became a mentor and lifelong friend. Long also attracted the attention of other Chicago blues heavyweights including Muddy Waters who declared, “John Long is the best young country blues artists today.” If only Muddy could hear him now.

Until signing on with Delta Groove, Long’s complete recorded works only consisted of a few deeply obscure backing appearances on other people’s sessions, a cut on a sampler released by the host of an NPR radio program, a small handful of home-made demo recordings, and one independently released CD entitled, “Long on Blues,” which found its way into the hands of Delta Groove head Randy Chortkoff. Blown away by the intensity and purity of Long’s music, Chortkoff quickly ushered John into a studio to record his Delta Groove debut. With a 40-year backlog of original material from which to draw upon, the results were stunning.

In 2006, Delta Groove Music presented Long’s first-ever national release, “Lost & Found,” which garnered the often reclusive musician a Blues Music Award nomination for Acoustic Album of the Year, as well as accolades by many of his peers. Renowned blues singer and guitarist John Hammond declared, “Johnny Long is worthy of international attention and this record is long overdue for an artist of this caliber. ‘Lost & Found’ demonstrates that a great player is ready to be heard.”

A decade has passed since Long’s critically-acclaimed debut and he hasn't lost a step. Like fine wine, Long’s only gotten better with age. His 2016 release, “Stand Your Ground,” builds on his growing reputation as a “national treasure” by delivering another deep slice of Americana. Long expands on his sound by incorporating what he refers to as “amplified acoustic” (he plays both a modified Washburn Montgomery model archtop and wood Resonator guitar), and keeps time by stomping on a 1938 Samsonite suitcase. The entirety of the album was recorded on analog tape, which bestowed it with a warm, ambient vintage sound, and almost all tracks were captured on first take.

"He embodies roots music masters like Woody Guthrie, Muddy Waters, Sonny Boy Williamson and the like and puts his own stamp on it," writes Eric Harabadian in his glowing review of Long's latest album in Music Connection Magazine. Harabadian offers up additional praise stating, "Tracks like 'Red Hawk' and 'One Earth, Many Colors' are spiritually stirring and emotionally full. Whether performing solo or with a band he is a tour de force who deftly bridges the present with the past." Echoing events from a decade earlier, the Blues Foundation nominated "Stand Your Ground" for Acoustic Album of the Year in 2017, in addition to also receiving a 2017 Blues Blast Music Award nomination for Acoustic Album as well.

Long has the uncanny ability to create and perform original material that sounds as if it came from a long-lost cache of vintage recordings by one of the classic bluesmen – it’s music completely unique and new, while at the same time hauntingly familiar. Long’s songs contain all the darkness and light, the humor and the pathos, and the fully realized musicality of the very best blues from the heyday of the genre. It’s a heyday that’s long gone, but in Long’s hands – in his world – it’s no gimmick, no pale imitation. This is the music that John Long has lived his whole life to create.

Releases by this artist

Stand Your Ground
John LongStand Your Ground
John LongLost & Found