British Gothic-folk guitarist Bobby Long is justifiably excited these days. He co-composed “Let Me Sign,” which his actor friend Robert Pattinson sang on the “Twilight” soundtrack. More recently, he moved to New York City, and issued two recordings, “A Winter Tale” and “The Backing Singer EP,” on ATO. He also just wrapped a new fall-slated disc with producer Ted Hutt, featuring bluesy originals such as “Devil Moon,” “Waiting for Dawn” and “Blood in the Orchard.” “It’s a lot heavier — I’m playing electric guitar on every track,” he says. He has another ace up his sleeve: “Losing My Brotherhood,” his first book of poetry, was just published.
How did a poetry project occur to you? About a year ago, I was on tour for six months straight with my last album, and I wasn’t quite ready to write the new one. I found it really hard writing things on the road, but I wanted to do some kind of writing, so I just decided to go into it. So then I worked out what I wanted to do — if I could write 120 poems I was happy with, I could push forward with it, really.
You’ve got some great skeletal stuff in there, like “Them Dogs,” “River Death” and “On the Junk.” Did you grow up with poetry in England? No more than anybody else. When I was younger, I was more into the likes of Leonard Cohen and that Bob Dylan book “Tarantula.” I just thought that this was what musicians really do. And I was always writing humorous poems about my friends in French class or math in the back of my schoolbooks.
Do you take notebooks with you now? I always have one. If I’m going to do some writing, I’ll go to a coffee house and take a notebook with me. But now with technology, I find that writing on my laptop is even better. You can actually read your own writing, and you’re not worried about losing it. I’ve lost sooo many notebooks on the road.
Have you developed a writing routine in New York? Yeah. I watched a Randy Newman YouTube clip, and he was describing himself as the laziest person in the world. For him to really write, he needs to do it like a job, from 9 to 5. So I did that for the book, then later for the songs, too, and it really helped. I left the house at 10 a.m., I wouldn’t come home until 5. I’d go to my favorite little cafe, where I know the owner, and they’d just let me sit in the back and do my thing.
IF YOU GO
Opening for The Mother Hips
Where: Sweetwater Music Hall, 19 Corte Madera Ave., Mill Valley
When: 9 p.m. Friday
Tickets: $27 (sold out)
Contact: (415) 388-3850; www.sweetwatermusichall.com