Written by Imani Wj Wright
About five years ago, as I left my high school after a long day, I headed to the popular McDonald’s across the street, like many other students who attended Carver Center. I was particularly fatigued and I could hardly wait for my dad to pick me up to take me home.
After sitting down, I must have dozed off when suddenly I heard someone say, “Long day?” I looked up chuckled a bit and groggily responded: “Yeah man.”
After some back and forth small talk, we ended up speaking about my aspirations as a musical artist— I was 15 years old at the time. The man sat pensively for a couple seconds and asked: “Are you familiar with Brooks Long?” “No I am not,” I responded.
He went on to talk to me about how talented this guy was and listed a few of his musical accomplishments, including a “Best Real R&B” award from one of Baltimore’s publications. Later on that day, I did some more research on Long and I have been a fan ever since.
Long is a triple threat musically. His soulful and fervent voice is supplemented by his ability to seamlessly tell a story while strumming away at his guitar. And to add even more fuel to the fire his band, The Mad Dog No Good adds that extra funk to Long’s distinguishable sound. When listening to them get down you even get old school vibes. At times, I even heard an Otis Redding and Sam Cooke influence, especially on songs such as “Got Soul.” In the hook Long sings, “Don't tell me you ain't got soul.” The way the piece is instrumentally structured, and the method in which Long conveys his message will make you a believer. The intensity of the piece rises to Gospel levels that you would find at the 9:30 a.m. service in church.
I guess they call it soul because you can feel it in your spirit!
Long is currently working on a project titled, The Songster part 2. Well…. he has been working on it, and will always be working on it. The project is a compilation of his music that he continuously adds to throughout his journey. When I asked when the project would be completed, Long broke it down plainly and simply, "I'll continue to add on to it until the day I'm gone." This spring, he expects to add three more songs to the series.
Along with Long’s high energy, he also has a reserved and strategic side. Watching him during his award winning interview/concert series “The Songster Series,” at the Creative Alliance throughout 2018, it was clear to see his intellect and his knowledge of the world of music. During the shows, he explained why he began the series and talked about the importance of highlighting “true songsters.” The artists who participated in the series, ranged in age and style, which gave the show a dynamic and unbiased view of various musical forms.
Long told that he plans to pursue a graduate degree in Ethnomusicology and while in grad school his goal is to “highlight Baltimore Music Culture.”