Jonathon Long hails from Baton Rouge and at 29 years old, he has established himself regionally in an area rich with blues legacy tracing to Buddy Guy, Kenny Neal, Tabby Thomas, Lightnin’ Slim and others. Yet, Long doesn’t try to emulate any one of them.
It was at 14 years old Jonathon’s passion for the music is what convinced his parents to take a leap of faith when their 14-year- old son approached them with his plans. The Longs signed over partial custody of their son to Blues Musician Henry Turner, allowing him to play out-of-state gigs where the presence of a legal guardian was required. A working musician before he was old enough to hold a learner’s permit, Long has been growing his fan base non-stop. Playing festivals the world over, including his yearly spot at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival has honed his skills to a razor’s edge.
That experience kicked off Long’s artistic career. After touring with Turner, 16-year-old Long played the fraternity party circuit with Motown cover band 2 Hipnotic, before getting his chance to play on a larger stage as a guitarist for New Orleans blues legend Luther Kent.
Kent gave Long his first taste of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival stage, and helped him blossom into the artist he is today. In 2011, Long was named Guitar Center’s “King of the Blues” then hit the road on his own opening shows for Tab Benoit, Big Head Todd and the Monsters, and others. It wasn’t until a 13 date run opening for BB King when BB told Jonathon “You can really play that guitar boy; I stole some of your licks.”
“His evolution from gospel to blues to the whole spectrum of Southern-inspired music is a delight to experience.” – OffBeat Magazine
“He is the ringmaster, trapeze artist and human cannonball of a live blues-rock circus” –Country Roads Magazine
Jonathon has released two CDs to the critics delight on Louisiana Red Hot Records under the name Jonathon “Boogie” Long. He has performed many festivals and venues around the world including New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Montreal Jazz Festival, Grolsch Blues Festival, Telluride Blues and Brews, and on the Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise. Jonathon’s blues continues to evolve without any barrios and without any restraints. His style, tone, and the way he delivers the song lyrically with the dynamics and soul that make him and his guitar a great story teller and an exciting Artist.
In January 2018 Jonathon amerced himself in songwriting for his new recording which was produced by Samantha Fish and released on Fish’s Wild Heart Records label.
“All that I know how to do is take a pen and a sheet of paper or two, write a few words about peace and love, Louisiana and the heavens above; Bury me when I am gone, with my guitar and some cheap cologne, all that’s left is a pile of bones, remember me through the words of my song.”
Recorded in post-Mardi Gras New Orleans earlier this year at NOLA Recording Studios, Jonathon Long’s self-titled release produced by 2018 Contemporary Female Blues Artist of the Year Samantha Fish, is an extra-ordinary collection of 11 songs, all written by Jonathon save for ‘The River’, written by Detroit’s Kenny Tudrick, a Samantha Fish cohort and drummer for the Detroit Cobras. Long is joined on the record by bandmates Chris Roberts on bass and Jullian Civello on drums, giving it a ‘live in the studio’ sonic signature. The ten Jonathon-penned tunes are timely, personal, outright spiritual and infused with an intentional, infectious spirit and soul. The CD was released on September 7, 2018.
Alternating between near-despair and boundless hope, the songs evoke that delicate balance of drawing you in and fixating you with provocative lyrics, familiar yet fresh riffs and clean, tight arrangements that shine on record and powerfully resound live. Each track gets its own special guitar treatment, from spare and simple acoustic rhythms and fills to in- your-face ‘straight into the board’ sonics, arranged and performed with the dues-paid passion and prowess Jonathon brings to his craft.
Says Jonathon: “You can’t be hesitant, you have to own it; everything that I do is to stress the positive, to connect with people in a positive way; I try to be an artist who doesn’t follow the textbook rules on being an artist, by not trying to write songs that appeal to the masses; I’m just trying to tell the stories and the truths as I see them and how I believe.” The songs on ‘Jonathon Long’ range from straight ahead blues, to stories of heartbreak, yearning, hope and redemption, to a drinking song. His own spirituality is front and center, but in a positive, non-preachy manner.
“Everyone has their own image of what a perfect world should be; my goal is not to persuade what to believe, or convert anyone, but to have people hear and realize you can do what you want, have fun, and find ways to peaceably coexist with the other people in this world. We are never about negative anything. We want to show up, bring on the heat, and have it all come together through the music,” he tells.
And that brings us to Boogie. He explains “I’m not just a boogie-woogie blues artist. There was a time I played a lot of shuffles, but now I’m in a different blues genre. I’ve been Boogie since two years old, and now it’s time to be just Jonathon Long,”
Hear and see for yourself. A fond farewell to Boogie, and a hello and welcome to ‘Jonathon Long’.
latest album: Jonathon Long – same (Wild Heart Records 2018)