A Long Way from Home seems the most proper name for Eric Long’s debut record. The reason being is that he currently lives in San Francisco but is originally from Pennsylvania. If you look at a map of the states it’s pretty much as much distance as one can put between two places on the map. He has brought with him however a deep sense of roots that still make him long perhaps in some way for the home he left so far behind.
On his debut though he also has a few friends who helped him record A Long Way from Home in a San Francisco home studio on a quarter inch tape. Those friends are Tom Relling, David Pascoe and Jack Ghegan, who contributed on guitars, fiddle and mandolin, and drums to name a few things, but really what they help to do is to give A Long Way from Home a little more body than a typical singer/songwriter record about being far from home would have.
On the record’s opening track, “Pennsylvania on My Mind” Long documents the long drive cross country in an Oldsmobile and everything he left behind. It’s catchy enough and moving enough song musically however the theme, be it steeped in truth or maybe a little embellished, of driving across the country in a beat-up car and missing home has been beaten to death.
But nevertheless we push on into the record and find the slow burn of “Maybe The Fools Had It Right” to be a bit more original in stature and has that jokey country and blues feel to the lyrics. “To Dream Again” is a slow rolling quiet country ballad of reflection, a quiet confession which pairs perfectly with the fiddle.
What Long does so well is make the simplistic seem so heartfelt. He is a man and his guitar documenting with a poet’s eye the things around him, a sense of ordinary life, the kind that so many of us lead without even thinking there’s anything worth writing about it. Long does this so well on songs like “Leaving,” “A High and Lonesome Feeling” and the gut wrenchingly simple and direct “Morea.”
Eric Long has said about A Long Way from Home that he had set out to write songs about real people and real lives, songs that were meant to be listened to on dark summer nights on the back porch and watching the fireflies dance about the yard. I’d say he’s accomplished this and quite a bit more on this record which captures so many different moods.
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