Posted by: Nick | April 27, 2009

REVIEW: Bobby Long & Sam Bradley @ 3rd & Lindsley (Nashville, TN) – 4/23

Review by Noelle Bailey

Bobby Long played to a sold out crowd Thursday night at 3rd and Lindsley in Nashville,TN.  This was the last stop of Bobby’s short tour through America (NYC, L.A. and Nashville) before his more extensive tour this summer. Bobby was joined in Nashville by fellow Brit and friend, Sam Bradley, and these boys certainly brought down the house.

Now there are two kinds of people who may read this review: those who are rabid fans and those who have never heard of these guys.  For the sake of those in the dark I will simply say that these two twenty-something, singer/song-writers from England were contributors to a soundtrack that debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 and has remained on the list for 24 weeks, currently at #4…and female fans are going crazy.

When we arrived at the venue the line to get in (or “queue” as they call it in England) extended a good four blocks down the street; not surprising as Bobby’s shows in both NYC and L.A., and the previous nights Nashville show, had all sold out.  Phil Taylor, manager extraordinaire, who discovered both Bobby and Sam at the famous “Up All Night” open mic night in London, introduced Sam to take the stage first.

Sam’s style of music is somewhat difficult to sum up. Although he doesn’t consider himself “country” there are certainly some old-style country elements to his songs, especially when heard live.  On the other hand his music is also very soulful, but with a less depressed sound.  In all, it is easy to see the effect that his idols such as Johnny Cash, Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles and Johnny Lee Hooker have had on his songwriting.

While I’ve always liked Sam’s music, for me there has always been something missing from it that I couldn’t  put my finger on.  I realized Thursday that the missing element was seeing Sam perform his songs live.  Sam’s onstage demeanor can only be described as comfortable and engaging and is the key element to 100% enjoyment of his music.  He brings his songs to life onstage, something that obviously isn’t as easily done online.  Thankfully he has posted several videos of his songs to his YouTube and Myspace pages and I highly suggest checking those out.  Hopefully with the release of his album, set to come out later this year, his music will come to life in a way the demos haven’t quite succeeded in.  Regardless, Sam put on a fantastic show Thursday night.

He opened the night with what he labeled his least favorite song, “You Think You’re Free” and followed it up with a fan favorite “Whiskey”; being sure to sip the beverage on stage.  (As a Kentucky girl I’m hoping it was Makers Mark!).  Sam entertained the crowd with quick-witted humor noting that the guys in the crowd were messing with his mojo and questioning an audience member when she said it was practically a “sausage fest”.  He explained that his next song, “Paradise” was one of the first songs he wrote and was about a girl he knew 14 years ago.  He then noted that this girl was also the reason he stopped playing the song for quite a while.  Another song about a girl, and Sam’s most famous song, “Too Far Gone” was clearly a crowd favorite; especially when we learned the girl who the song was written about called him earlier in the day.  Truly this is one of Sam’s best songs and one of the few times I can say I like a song better the way it is performed by the writer, rather than the person who made the song famous.  (I don’t feel bad saying that though, as the person who made this particular song famous has mentioned being dissatisfied with the version in the movie.)

Along with original songs, Sam played two covers, including “Give My Love to Rose” by Johnny Cash.  This was probably Sam’s best song of the night, if only for his incredible Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson impersonations.  Sam finished up the evening with “Soho Whores” (my personal favorite) and a song written by his mother, Lee Lindsey, entitled “Like a River.”  During the song one of his guitar strings broke, but like a seasoned professional Sam kept playing and ended his performance leaving no doubt in anyone’s mind that his mother played a significant role in Sam’s musical development.

Overall, Sam’s performance lived up to my high expectations and I am looking forward to the release of his upcoming album.  It should be noted that the album will feature Sam performing with a band…something I’m incredibly curious to hear.

As much as I enjoy Sam’s music and was feeling incredibly fortunate to see both Sam and Bobby on the same night, at the same venue, I was most excited about Bobby’s performance.  Unlike Sam’s music, Bobby’s music has a way of reaching through the speakers and touching me immediately.  Unfortunately access to Bobby’s music has been somewhat limited up until recently.  Previously, the only way to listen to a variety of his songs was to go to his Myspace page or YouTube (see below).  However, as a thank you to fans and to calm the demand for his music, Bobby released one song, “Left to Lie” as a single on iTunes.  He also now has a “bootleg” cd of ten songs that can be purchased at his concert.  I am fortunate enough to have a copy and currently have it set on repeat, although I have to admit I’m disappointed that “This Strange Love” is not included.

Bobby’s sound can be classified as somewhere between a more folky/less rootsy Ben Harper and a slightly raspier sounding Elliot Smith.  His onstage presence is much more subdued than I expected and he even seemed a little “bashful” at times, but that could have just been in contrast to Sam’s more boisterous nature.  If I had one criticism of Bobby’s performance it would be that he didn’t seem comfortable on stage at times.  I’ve seen videos of other shows though and this hasn’t always been the case.  I am just chalking this one up to the fact that this was his last show and he had to be exhausted.  Regardless, what comes through above all else during Bobby’s show is the fact that he is not only an absurdly talented vocalist, but an amazing song-writer as well, drafting poetic lyrics such as, “The night it rests like a hammerblow and breaks the morning it brings. The mad men are down on the crypt floor sleeping through there favours and sins. I trained myself to be hardened and greet the bird like the day.  I soared to greet lusty gamblings and drenched myself in the dusk where they lay.” (lyrics from “Being a Mockingbird”).

Bobby opened his set with “Rattle and Roll”, a song that is battling with “The Bounty of Mary Jane” as my favorite.  He then entertained the crowd with a story of him trying on cowboy hats and boots earlier in the day and saying they just didn’t work.  I think the image that put in his fans heads was priceless.  About halfway through his set he made mention of Mississippi John Hurt and started to play a few bars of one song (I think it may have been “Richland Woman Blues”, but don’t quote me on that) and then switched agilely into his song, “Sad Woman Blues”, dedicating it to “Sarah” and noting that he was thankful she liked to talk about weird stuff as much as he does.  (Note: there is a YouTube video showing Sarah, but for her sanity I will not link to it here.)  He also didn’t forget about his friend Sam, thanking him for joining him and dedicating “Who Have You Been Loving” to him.   He ended the night on the guitar and the harmonica playing “Dublin’s There for Me” and was genuinely surprised that people in the audience seemed to know the words; a sign that he is still unaware how dedicated his fans truly are.

After the show both Sam and Bobby greeted fans outside and from all accounts were truly gracious.  I had the opportunity to speak with Bobby after the show and you can see the full interview here.  What I gathered during our conversation is that Bobby is truly humble and grounded, incredibly articulate, and seems a little wary and surprised by his sudden fame.  He clearly knows that he will have to continue working hard to make sure he can turn his passion into a long term career.  My favorite part of speaking with him was when he mentioned going back to school and back to reality, noting that, “it’s wonderful playing, but it’s not real life…Real life is getting up every day and trying to get to work or trying to get to school.”  Those are fairly profound words for a guy barely in his twenties.

I look forward to traveling back to Nashville to see Bobby during his tour-or hopefully persuading him to join us sometime in Louisville.  I will also be eagerly awaiting the release of Sam’s upcoming album and remain hopeful that he will make another stop somewhere close by.  Right now it is hard to deny that these guys seem to have the world at their feet.

Set list, more pics, and video below the break…

Sam Bradley-set list

1.       You Think You’re Free
2.       Whiskey
3.       Paradise
4.       Derek
5.       Too Far Gone
6.       That’s How Strong My Love Is (O. V. Wright  cover)
7.       Scared
8.       Sea Blue
9.       Passport
10.   Give My Love To Rose (Johnny Cash cover)
11.   Is Love Enough
12.   Soho Whores
13.   Like a River (written by his mother, Lee Lindsay)

Bobby Long-set list

1.       The Rattle and Roll
2.       So Tear Me Up
3.       Left To Lie
4.       Being A Mockingbird
5.       This Strange Love
6.       The Bounty of Mary Jane
7.       Sad Woman Blues
8.       Dead And Done
9.       Penance Fire Blues
10.   Who Have You Been Loving
11.   Two Tone Lover
12.   Two Years Old
13.   Dublin’s There For Me

Sam Bradley


Bobby Long



Post-Show


More Video


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Responses

  1. The Rattle and Roll wins as the favorite. Nice review ma’am!

  2. Great review!

  3. nice review. thanks. one thing i was a tad disappointed to see sam impersonate johnny cash during “rose” in nashville no less. you just don’t do that. sing his songs but don’t dumb it down to get a few laughs. love them both though.

  4. thanks so much for the wonderful review. the guys seem to have put on a wonderful show. i’ve heard great things all around. I’m with the Land of Dreamers Street Team and really appreciate anything that helps get the word out on these amazingly talented guys. check out the website at http://www.thelandofdreamers.com and thanks again

  5. Awesome review! Thank you for posting it and all the wonderful pictures. I love Sam & Bobby and can’t wait to see them live!

    And I’m with Julie, come check out our Land of Dreamers! We have so much fun supporting the guys!

  6. Great review! I have to say… Two Tone Lover, Sad Woman Blues and Rattle and Roll are my fave!
    I can’t wait to catch him live!

    And it’s true that the Land of Dreamers is awesome to keep up with everything Bobby, Sam and Marcus! :)

  7. lovely review!
    I would try to tell you my favorite song, but that’s kind of impossible. I have been known to break out into “Don’t tell the wife… don’t tell the wife!” though!

  8. Great review. I am actually the “Sarah” in the YouTube video so thank you for not posting it. lol It’s bad enough it’s up there.
    I am the “girl from the Land of Dreamers” he dedicated “Being A Mockingbird” to though. “Sad Woman Blues” was dedicated to his manager.

    Again, thanks for the great review.

  9. Sarah–Sorry about the mix up! I was trying to take pics and write everything down in the dark. I must have gotten the two dedications mixed up. Thanks for letting me know.

    Thank you all for for the positive feedback!

  10. Backseat Boy Band Sandbar.

    Nice review Noelle. Wish they had played Paris 2004.

  11. Great write up. I was at both shows and was blown away at each night. These guys are going to be big. I’m glad I was smart enough to get in on it from the beginning. Although their styles are notably different, their songs make me feel happy.

  12. Thanks for the great article, videos, and pictures. They were all great. Please try and get him to Louisville- that is where I live too, and it would be awesome to see him play here and see our wonderful city!

  13. I love the review. My husband and I soooo enjoyed that show. The Johny Cash impression Sam did was FANTASTIC. It shows he’s creatively fun with his music as well as having a sense of humor. I mean, who the heck doesn’t want to laugh. He knows how to have a good time.
    Cheers to Sam Bradley and Bobby Long.

  14. SORRY I MISSED THE SHOW!I HOPE SOMEONE ENJOYED THE TICKETS I GAVE UP. EVERYONE PLANNING TO GO WITH ME,GOT CALLED INTO WK.UGH! NIGT SHIFT AND HOSPITALS. IT SOUNDS LIKE IT WAS A GREAT SHOW…I HOPE WE GET THE CHANCE TO SEE YOU ALL IN NASHVILLE AGAIN. GOOD LUCK WITH THE MUSIC.


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