When singer-songwiter Bobby Long left Wiltshire, the picturesque county of England where he grew up, for university studies in London, he fell in with a tight knit group of young artists who would become his lifelong friends. Together, they survived open auditions and open mic nights, successes and disappointments, forming a strong support system that bolstered their individual pursuits. So when he relocated to New York in 2009 to pursue his music career, it was only natural that he would cultivate another artistic community to fill the void. With the release of his third album called Ode to Thinking he has called upon his community of creative friends to lend their collective talents to marketing elements to support the release.
Ode to Thinking, which was released in August by Compass Records, has been, at its core, a group effort because it was crowd-funded by pledges from fans and music supporters via PledgeMusic. “It was singularly the most creative collaboration of my life,” Long has said of the process where supporters essentially pre-ordered the album even before it was made. “I felt their presence cheering me on while I was in the studio.”
New York-based British photographer Jamie Strachan, whose stark, sometimes disturbing black and white images of everyday life are the perfect complement to Long’s plaintive lyrics, made the images that Kilroe integrated into the album package as well as dynamic candid photos of Long for promotional purposes. The two friends then mined Strachan’s portfolio for photographs for the purposes of a lyric video for the album’s title song. “I am a huge fan of Jamie’s photography,” says Bobby. “I wanted to collaborate more with people I admire, and he is someone I admire creatively and personally. It was wonderful to see his images with my music.”
Long had studied music for film at London Metropolitan University before he moved to New York, but this was the first video either he or Strachan had ever made. Says Strachan, who shoots 35mm film using a Ricoh GR1v and Canon AE-1 as well as a Nikon D810 digital camera: “Someone great once said something like ‘I take pictures to try to understand the world around me.’ I think that photography helps me to communicate and to be present.” The “Ode to Thinking” lyric video is a visual feast that conveys the elements of despair and hopelessness found in the song’s lyrics, painstakingly edited by Casey McBride, the newest addition to this group.
Glide is premiering the video for “Ode to Thinking” (below) – a photo journalistic companion that offers visual contemplation to Long’s poignant lyrics.
“‘Ode to Thinking’ was the first song I wrote for this album, says Long to Glide.” It is almost a statement of intent or a pledge from me to continuously seek knowledge and to try to educate myself with all things. It’s also a bit of a slander on modern society from the vantage point of an ivory tower: as much as I’m separated from my surroundings, I am also a part of my surroundings. Jamie Strachan is one of my best friends, and I am a huge fan of his photography. I wanted to collaborate more with people I admire, and he is someone I admire creatively and personally. It was wonderful to see his images with my music. I feel my song is better for the collaboration, and I would love to work with him again.”