Robert Earl Longley, also known as "Robby" to his friends and fans, is a world-class level guitarist and symphonic composer. His original compositions include ten of his own CDs, three theatrical films, and a two-hour long improvisational performance to a silent film. Robert’s concert material is a presentation of masterfully executed fingerstyle techniques on the flamenco guitar that delivers sophisticated melodies in symphonic movements unprecedented on solo guitar. The best way to describe his music is to say that if film composer, Ennio Morriconi had only a guitar at his disposal, he would be Robert Earl Longley.
In Los Angeles, Robert entered eight local guitar competitions within a 2-year period and took first place in all eight. It was then that he decided to play a different kind of music that would allow him to express himself, unencumbered by style or tradition. Remembering his childhood exposure to the music of Carlos Montoya, Chet Atkins, Paco de Lucia and Julian Bream, Robert fused all these influences into his own fingerstyle guitar sound. He found himself further inspired by the groundbreaking keyboard virtuosity of Keith Emerson who, ironically, claimed to have been inspired by the guitar work of Pete Townsend and Jimmy Hendrix.
Robert practiced relentlessly and soon a new musical voice emerged from the application of all the musical influences he had grown up with. He listened continuously to classical music in the home, the inescapable influence of jazz and blues from nearby New Orleans along with traditional flamenco. Moreover, since Robert’s father had been awarded a university scholarship to study the trumpet as a young man, Robert’s talent for music was naturally fostered from childhood.
A desperate urge overtook him to fulfill a calling for unorthodox musical compositions. About this, Robert comments,
"As a child, I strummed the guitar unconsciously. As a young man, I endeavored to strum it consciously. Now, I strum the guitar as I did as a child---unconsciously. That is to say, it plays itself through me. If someone throws a ball at you, you catch it. You walk into a dark room and without conscious thought you turn on the light switch. Someone takes a swing at you, and you side-step away from harm. You don't stop to think about it, it just happens. I play and compose on the guitar as it calls to me without conscious thought, yet being fully conscious all the time."
Defying the accepted genres of style, the dogma of tradition to Robert is quite stifling. Robert’s music is not straight flamenco. Although it sounds Spanish, it is not that. It could have been lifted out of a classical film score, but it wasn't. Its rhythmic improvisations are jazz-like, but it is not Jazz. It wrenches your emotions like Blues, but it isn't that either.
A wide variety of instruments constitute Robert’s musical palette. The guitar is ever present in all of Robert's compositions, but now and then it takes the back burner to give way to fuller orchestration. On his CDs Theatred'Orleans, Danza Mora and Sanctuary, Robert also plays bass, drums and a variety of percussion instruments. Yuletide is an extraordinary execution of uniquely inspired variations on traditional Christmas songs in which Robert uses flamenco guitar, bass, percussion, additional stringed instruments from around the world, and the Mellotron.
His CD, Diaspora (2007), is the culmination of all of his effort to produce his original music as he has always wanted it to be heard--the way HE hears it in his head. His guitar playing is prominent and brilliant while accompanied by other instruments that only enhance his performance on Diaspora. The music just flows in a hybrid of explosive guitar with dense flamenco fingering that is sweet and lyrical like classical music, improvisational like jazz, full of angst like blues, and always elegant at the same time.
Robert’s ancestry can be traced back to Andalusia, Spain on his mother’s side. Yet, the family surname is decidedly English. Robert’s music may be easily recognizable as Spanish in nature, and less Americana, yet he contends he is an American first, and by virtue of his heritage is not obligated to carry on any kind of musical tradition, whether it is the flamenco school, Segovia school or any other. After hearing Robert’s orchestrated music, categorization becomes irrelevant. In fact, Robert declares,
"There's nothing legitimate about what I do. I know I am the bastard child of flamenco and classical guitar, and I prefer it that way."
In every generation there comes a musician who defines an era—one who brings something unique to his musical style. At once it is clear that Robert Longley is not only a recording artist and guitar hero for aficionados, but also a live performer with great mainstream appeal whose capabilities reach the totality of fine musicianship.
BODY OF WORK: (10 CDs completed)
Theatre d'Orleans (1995) original fingerstyle guitar & orchestral arrangements, Danza Mora (1997) original fingerstyle guitar & orchestral arrangements, ?Sanctuary (1999) original fingerstyle guitar & orchestral arrangements,?Guitar Noir, Vol. 1 (2000) original solo guitar (in studio), ?Baraka (2001) original fingerstyle guitar & orchestral arrangements,?Chasing the Dragon (2002) original fingerstyle guitar & orchestral arrangements, ?Live! At Boulevard (2003) original solo guitar (live show), ?Yuletide (2005) original variations of traditional Christmas carols for guitar & Mellotron, ?Diaspora (2007) original guitar, Mellotron & percussion, #10 (2010) original solo fingerstyle guitar & orchestral arrangements w/ Mellotron
Robert Earl Longley is the guest on the series "Up Close and Personal" BlogTalk Radio Show with Mary and Willy Forrest in British Columbia, Canada. Here's your chance to listen in on an intimate discussion on this brilliant concert musician's career path--his passion, the oozing talent, his perseverence at all costs, his progress, and his hopes at the crossroads. This candid interview reveals much about the artist whose talent both fans and industry moguls admire--and incredibly, he still doesn't read music!
On Friday September 2nd at Midnight EST -- 11 PM CST -- 9 PM PST
Robert Earl Longley entertains at this special private event for Bodegas wines in Paso Robles, Ca.
Nov, 12 07:30 PM
corporate event in Dallas, Texas
Nov, 14 01:04 PM
Justin Winery, Paso Robles, Ca
Nov, 19 01:04 PM
Robert Earl Longley creates a romantic atmosphere on solo guitar at this afternoon at Justin Winery. A tasting event of outstanding wine at 11680 Chimney Rock Road, Paso Robles, Ca 93446. Tel: (805) 238-6932 -- Toll Free: (800) 726-0049
Returning to the Steynberg Gallery by popular demand where the Concert Series meets equally talented international artists exhibiting their high-end paintings, handpicked by curator Peter Steynberg himself, in a sophisticated environment in San Luis Obispo. Come hungry, the food is all organic and delicious, too.
Address: 1531 Monterey St., San Luis Obispo, 93401
Phone: (805) 547-0278
Tickets: $15 - reservations recommended. Seating fills up fast at this popular venue.
San Marcos Lutheran Church
Feb, 26 04:06 PM
Robert Earl Longley is invited back to perform solo at the San Marcos Lutheran Church Concert Series in the Sanctuary. A positively beautiful stained glass window will be the backdrop, and the people are the nicest you could ever meet. It's always a huge pleasure to visit this Church.