Long Woodson
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Long Woodson

Austin, Texas, United States | SELF

Austin, Texas, United States | SELF
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"Today's Country Loves Girl Upstairs"

Austin, Texas is a place familiar with music. Every year they host the South by Southwest Festival that brings together musicians and artists of all genres, they pretty much have their own scene, with their own clubs, fans, etc… So it comes as no surprise that one of the more ambitious albums I have heard lately comes from an artist out of Austin. Long Woodson presents a true concept album with Girl Upstairs. Focusing on the tales of three characters, each song intertwines their existence within’ each others lives as the stories of a stalker, a stripper, and a semi-successful musician come to light throughout the album. The cons to a concept album is that when the parts of the story are separated the songs don’t have much weight on their own. However, the pro to a concept album is that you can tell a full story with a beginning, middle, and end as Long Woodson does here. The music itself is mostly acoustic driven and for lack of better terms falls into the singer/songwriter genre. The stories being told through the great songwriting are all unique in their own way, even down to the liner notes where the lyrics come in different writing depending on which characters point of view is telling that part of the story. Though the music and styles are often times left of the mainstream radio dial this ambitions concept album is still a good listen if you are someone that likes the story-telling aspects of music. - Today's Country


"Austin Chronicle Praises Robyville"

For their second disc, Matthew J. Long and Gunter Woodson take the brave step of a concept album about a fictional West Texas town, Robyville, and the misfits that inhabit it. Although a mix of lackadaisical folk and shambling country, Robyville succeeds because the Austin-based duo has a keen sense of melody and the characters they create are instantly familiar without being stereotypes. Bonus points for writing the back-porch ditty "Horny As Me." - Austin Chronicle


"Country Chart Raves About Robyville"

Contemporary Texas country has found a new hero in Long Woodson and his brand new CD "Robyville." Woodson's comfortable vocals and outlaw country attitude make for compelling listening that will leave listenters wanting more.

The album begins with "Jimi" which has a retro-cool vibe reminiscent of Hayes Carll. Woodson's vocal perfomance is confident without feeling forced. At first listen, "Jimi" would not seem to have country chart potential, but on repeated listens the cut has indelible charm and a memorable chorus.

"Creole Man" showcases Long Woodson's obviously mixed love affair of classic rock and classic country. The lyrics are the star of the show. The third track "Nikki" shows Woodson's technical skills as a vocalist and could be enjoyed in both coffee houses and saloons. Likewise, the title track "Robyville" is an eclectic musical treat.

The biggest surprise is the country bar crowd anthem "Horny As Me." While this song might not work for family night at the community center, there is no doubt this song has hit potential. "Chicago" also surprises with its understated charm.

"Robyville" is a truly original and innovative country music album from rising star Long Woodson that should not be missed. CountryChart.com - Country Chart


"Gear Wire Talks to Gunter About His 1971 Gibson Les Paul Gold Top"

Gibson 1971 Gold Top Les Paul Not Too Heavy For Long Woodson Guitarist
October 08, 2010
Long Woodson's Gunther Woodson And His '71 Gibson Goldtop

Gunter Woodson of Texas-based, Long Woodson, likes his Gibson's from 1971. In addition to a J-45, he also owns a Gibson Gold Top Les Paul from '71, from before they made the Les Pauls lighter.

"This was another one of those finds for me. I had been playing a late 90’s Les Paul Classic that I was borrowing from a friend. It looked cool but I never really jived with it. Then I started dreaming about a Gold Top. I saw dudes like Slash playing one. Then I had a dream about it. The next day I walked into Guitar Center of all places and I was with my wife," says Woodson. " I saw the price and told her that was the guitar I wanted. She commented on how inexpensive it was and the pickups looked used. When they pulled it down for me, I played it for 2-3 minutes and then walked up with a credit card. When you find these things, you have to pull the trigger quickly."

One selling point from this guitar is its heft, it weight, which means it has great sustain. But it is more than just that.

"For one thing, the newer Les Pauls are much lighter. I think it was back in the mid to late eighties when they started drilling holes into the interior of the body to make it lighter," he says. "I guess some pansies could not take the heavy nature of the guitar. Personally I love the weight on my shoulder. Then there is the sustain. There really is no other guitar like it out there.

Unfortunately, these days, Woodson doesn't get to use his Gold Top much.

"Right now, it does not get played as much because our first two albums with Long Woodson, I have been concentrating on the acoustic side. My true calling is Rock n’ Roll," he says. "Keith Richards is my hero and my aunt gave me a Keith bobble head doll for my wedding. In past more distorted rock n roll bands, it would have been appropriate. I would like to see it start integrating into my music moving forward."

We hope he just means Richard's guitar playing. As far as amps he uses a Fender with his Gibson.

"I use a Fender Tweed Blues Deluxe. 40 Watts. Class A. It gets every bit of volume I need. It is hard to play with anyone because I am looking for a tone and I need to crank it," says Woodson. "It is from the early 90s and still has the original tubes. Something about the chocked up sustain of a Les Paul through a full bodied sound of a tube amp is unmatchable. I have a Marshal but it is not my favorite. Vox would be pretty cool."

There is only one downside to the guitar in Woodson's eyes. The pick-ups are reversed on the switch.

"So when you want to use the back one for a lead, you have to remember that. Other than that I freaking love the guitar. I was very lucky to have found it." he says. "The only other thing that has been done to this guitar is that the tuners have been replaced. I will say that it makes it a TRUCKLOAD easier to tune. The original tuners on my vintage Gibson acoustics can be difficult at times."

The best thing about the '71 Gold Top, in Woodson's eyes is he sustain.

"You can play it through anything and it will ring forever. Anyone who has ever played an older Les Paul knows what I am talking about. The thick sound it kicks out is pretty incredible too." he says.

He does play it live but is philosophical about possible road damage.

"I would sure hate it if it got smashed but will never worry about that. As much as I consider myself a collector of guitars, they are meant to be played," says Woodson., "If you start worrying about dings, you are not having fun. And in my mind, fun is what it is all about. When you stop having fun, you might as well stop playing music."

Long Woodson's second record, Robyville, is out now. The band is touring Texas in October. For more on Long Woodson.

Patrick Ogle writes for Gearwire and has never complained about a heavy guitar (never played one either)
- Gearwire


"Gear Wire Interviews Gunter About His 1962 Gibson Acoustic, Jimi"

Gibson 1962 LG-1 Acoustic, Gunter Woodson Of Long Woodson's Hand-Me-Down Gem
October 08, 2010
Long Woodson

Gunter Woodson of Texas band, Long Woodson, have just released their second record, Robyville and are touring through Texas in October.

Woodson has some very cool gear. Among this cool stuff is a Gibson 1962 LG-1 Acoustic. The guitar was Woodson's dad's and was his first and favorite guitar. He learned to play on it.

"My dad had it stored away in a closet pretty much my entire child life. It was not until I got to college and started listening to the Grateful Dead and Widespread Panic did I realize how cool it was to play music," he says. " All I had done up to that date was play sports. I guess the good thing about it was that I was coordinated and had the dedication to practice."

There has to be some sort of incentive to learn playing on a guitar with history, with tone. You might not be able to identify it when you first pick up the instrument but it has to be there.

"The tone is like no other. There is something about older wood that give the guitar a classic full bodied sound," says Woodson. "I have another vintage Gibson (I am a Gibson Guy if you can’t tell) that is a 1971 J-45. It is close to a third bigger but the sound is not the same. I guess that being 10 years older makes a pretty massive difference, eh?"

One of the reasons Woodson uses this guitar is that he has no other small bodied guitar or not one like this in any case.

"I have a tiny Martin travel guitar that I use when I need something with me in a small place," he says " It is a about half the size of a normal guitar. But my Dad’s LG-1 is of a different caliber. It just has this full bodied tone with a small body about ¾ the size of a normal dreadnought guitars."

Woodson, unsurprisingly, doesn't gig with this guitar. He writes with it and uses it to record.

"Heck it rarely comes out until I am alone. I use it on a lot of the songs on our albums because the sound is so unique," says Woodson. "But we always use a microphone. Other than that, it I pretty much used as art and for song writing inspiration. When I need inspiration, I turn to Jimi. That is his name. My Dad’s name is Jim."

Of course, since Woodson has had this guitar since he was a youngster, he was bound to have done some ill-advised things with it. He babies it now but that hasn't always been the case.

"When I was in college and just out of school, I abused ole Jimi. I moved to Crested Butte and was playing in a bar up there. It did not have electronics so I put a Sunrise Pick-up in it. Well, the Sunrise was not permanent so it had a chord that you could plug your guitar cable into. Trying my best to live up to the Outlaw Country legends like Willie and Waylon, I would get pretty good and hammered," says Woodson. " One night when I was breaking down, it swung around and put a pretty good crack in the back. I got it fixed and it gives it some character but that is the only thing I have ever done to it. Other than mistreatment on camping trips in the ice cold weather. Maybe it is the abuse that exponentially ages the wood, eh?"

If you happen to come across one of these, Woodson says this instrument is going to appeal most to the "singer-songwriter" sort of player.

"You must hear the sound that comes out of it. Truly remarkable. I think I saw Dustin Welch playing one once at the Continental Club in Austin," he says. "I could not really hear it so maybe not for that louder music. Places like the Cactus Café and other listening rooms would love this guitar."

Woodson complements his LG-1 with a J-45 from 1971.

"Seems like I acquire a few guitars from 71 and there is a reason for it. I found it at Austin Vintage Guitar. I played it for literally 2-3 minutes before I took it to the counter and told him to hold it for me. I ran home got the money plus enough for a pick up and bought it right there," says Woodson. "It is my gigging guitar. Sound is incredible with amazing action. Everyone who plays it comments on the action. It plays incredibly well and sounds marvelous through an acoustic amp."

Robyville, Long Woodson's latest effort is a concept album about a fictional West Texas town about artistic misfits seeking asylum from mainstream America. The band also have another record of material ready to record.

"We are touring Texas in October and playing towns like New Braunfels, Houston and Dallas," says Woodson. "We will be on Ray Wylie Hubbard’s show down in Gruene in October as well. You can always get more information about us at our website."
For more on Long Woodson.

Patrick Ogle writes for Gearwire
- Gearwire


"Girl Upstairs"

GIRL UPSTAIRS...the debut concept album by newcomers to the Austin music scene, LONGWOODSON, is a true testament to Texas songwriting and storytelling. Co-creators, Gunter Woodson and Matt Long have found obvious influence from bands like The Stones and Wilco, but have conspired to come up with a totally original sound. The album spins on the different perspectives of a love triangle with standout tracks like, “Sweetly Naïve,” “The Game,” and “Hey Lady.” While poppy, full of sweet harmonies and melodic hooks, it maintains it’s musical grit with Dave Duce’s blues guitar rifts, Rick “Coach” Davis’ Texas-style harp and a serious lyrical bite. One listen and you’ll find GIRL UPSTAIRS running through your head for days to come. - Angie Oliver


"Austin Music City Loves Catchy Songwriting of Long Woodson's Robyville"

It was obvious from the start that Long Woodson’s fans came to play and
came to win. They completely obliterated everyone else on the poll and it
gives some insight on what’s going on in the music business and where
it’s headed. If anyone represents the antithesis of formulaic, schmaltzy,
powder puff music, it would be Long Woodson. And if anyone was ready
to drive the stake through the heart of top 40 teen love songs, it would
be their fans. Like the smell of spilled whiskey on a white hot mesquite campfire, their songs are a unique experience. And if it’s seamless vocals and pitch perfect production you’re after, then you came to the wrong house.
They are, however, storytellers. You remember them? Artists who could write and sing meaningfulsongs that were interesting and held your attention? Yes Virginia, they do still exist.

Long Woodson’s story began when they met in college in Austin and began working together in late night picking and writing sessions. Upon graduation they both went their separate ways with Long moving to Stone Harbor New Jersey to run a surf shop and write a novel during the winter and Woodson travelling through Colorado and later opening a bike shop in Thailand. Eventually Woodson returned to Austin to attend graduate school and Long soon followed. There they began working in a band called Juan Hitter, honing their songwriting skills while collaborating on original material. But they were both married and working, music was something that still pulled at them but it was not their main gig. After Woodson was diagnosed with brain cancer and survived two surgeries, he realized that if he were going to pursue a career in the music business, he had better get to it. Surviving a near death experience will definitely put an edge on a person’s outlook on life as well as their
songwriting abilities.

Their debut album, “The Girl Upstairs” released in 2009 was a concept project about the interwoven lives of three characters. The idea for “Robyville” came from a fascination the duo had with the bohemian community of Marfa, Texas, a town known not only as the site of the filming of the movie “Giant” back in the fifties but also as a gathering place for artists, musicians and writers. The album deals with the fictional characters and the stories that describe them in a “McMurtryesque” way that’s put to some truly memorable music.

For more information on Long Woodson, check them out at www.longwoodson.com and get more insight on what it was that brought fans out in droves to put them in the number one spot. - Austin Music City


"Buddy Magazine's Tom Geddie proclaims concept brilliance in Long Woodson's Robyville"

The focus on singles rather than whole albums is understandable from a financial point of view, what with the cost of CDs these days and the availability of cheap and even free downloads – which are sometimes even legal and don’t cheat artists out of the money they earn to make a living. It’s not even a new concept, although some younger readers – no, that’s not an oxymoron – certainly won’t remember the roots.

Yes, I used the word “album.” No, it doesn’t date me; it’s just a more precise description because “album” is the collected material, not the medium (CD).

When I was a young reader, the first music I ever owned was a single recording of Vaughan Monroe singing “Ghost Riders in the Sky,” a somewhat surreal song – though it’s not likely thought of that way by most folks – written by Stan Jones that describes the spirits of damned cowboys chasing red-eyed, steel-hoofed cattle thundering across the sky, and the suggestion that the ground-bound cowboy who sees this vision will be damned to that chase forever unless he changes his ways.

My version, recorded by Monroe in 1949, was on an already old 78-rpm vinyl recording with a stretched out spindle hole, adding a bit of extra eeriness to the sound. 78s gave way to 45-rpm vinyl singles, and then to vinyl albums with a bunch of songs on them, followed by but never really replaced by cassette tapes and eight-tracks and finally the CDs that may or may not still dominate the market.
Albums ruled for a long time, mostly as random collections of songs but occasionally themed as “concept albums” where all the songs fit together in some literary or semi-literary way. (Singles, by definition, are or should be concept songs.)
Even as singles regain popularity, there’s a place for whole concept albums like Long Woodson’s new Robyville, which is an album of a dozen songs about a fictional West Texas town filled with “artistic types, bohemians, and general misfits seeking refuge from mainstream America.” Think Marfa, where residents – officially just a few more than 2,000 – live isolated in the high Chihuahuan Desert of far West Texas between the Davis Mountains and Big Bend National Park. Tourists (trendy and otherwise) trek in for the art and the mysterious Marfa lights. Donald Judd put Marfa on the art map by making it his home, and the Judd and Chinati foundations further developed the scene – much to the profit and chagrin of many locals.

Long is Matthew J. Long (lead vocals, lead electric and acoustic guitars, bass), who left McKinney to run a surf shop and write a novel in Stone Harbor, New Jersey. Woodson is Gunter Woodson (lead vocals, rhythm and acoustic guitar), who left Houston for Crested Butte, Colorado, and then opened a bike store in Thailand. They’d met as undergrads, and both eventually returned to Austin where, as music fans, they decided to start a band.

Their first album, Girl Upstairs, released in 2009, explored obsession among three interwoven characters. A sort of movie with music, but no pictures.
Marfa intrigued them on several levels; the second album explores the purely fictional lives of some of the people in a town somewhat like that. Which makes it a real Americana album – or Americana Texas. Band mates add bass, cello, drums and other percussion, harmonica, keyboards, mandolin, and National guitar.

“Jimi” is a drug manufacturer/dealer who passed out in the toilet, but turns his burden into fun.
“Creole Man” lives alone in a warehouse, painting the desert by day and sleepwalking at night. The song shares some details, and tells us “If he weren’t like this, there’d be no bliss.”
“Nikki” paints a “pixilated dream” on the back of the narrators’ eyelid; she is mean to him.
In “Robyville,” a character is “a man on a mission grave” who learned to play piano when he was eight.
In “Horny as Me,” a character hopes she is, too.
In “Clearly,” a character wonders if a “thought can break a broken mind.”
In “Chicago,” the character is stoned again thinking about a woman.
In “Goodness,” a character tries to shelter a woman “from those persons cloaked in white,” the ones who say one thing and do another.
In “Grace’s Place,” a high school student daydreams about freedom.
In “Tennessee Blue, “a fool is born on a Southern night,” two unite on a moon-basked hood, and they know that there are “rules to this game, a heart has been betrayed.”
In “Wichita,” a woman leaves a man and comes back, and he leaves her (at least in his mind).
In “Strange Times,” a character thinks of old times and begins to play the guitar again, “singing about those nights that never end” while thinking about the woman that everyone wants.

But, aren’t they all strange times? In Robyville or Marfa or Dallas or wherever? There’s an overall existential mood in Robyville, more descriptions and moments than even semi-fleshed stories. So many people are lost and dazed. Or dazed and lost.

Congratulations to Long Woodson and to the others who create music as a sort of literature with ambitions that last longer than two or three or even four minutes.
- Buddy Magazine


"Girl Upstairs - Long Woodson"

Girl Upstairs”, the new CD release from Austin-based duo Long Woodson is by definition (and personal declaration) a “concept” album, by intention. It takes a lot of concentration, intelligence, focus and serious intent to even attempt to create a “concept” album. Clues have to be clearly developed and carefully connected along the dotted lines that introduce and develop the story. The conceptual bonding of each song to the next must be marked clearly along the trail and the songs (step by step) must musically lead you from one to another, and sustain your interest from (hopefully) the beginning to end. Long Woodson’s CD “Girl Upstairs” flows as smoothly as a well-greased wheel on the “all aboard” train. The resulting product is an interesting ticket to ride.

“Girl Upstairs” is Long Woodson’s debut collaborative CD. It is successful as a concept album and as an engaging, tight musical statement. It is a story of three people, (together by geography) living in an Austin apartment building. . .a stripper (Brit), her sub-standard boyfriend/lover (Dutch) and an obsessed stalker named Gus, who lives downstairs from the stripper. The three characters are identified by their lyrical handwriting. The lyric insert displays three separate handwritings, offering identity to the songs’ singer, adding to the development of that character and giving more color and texture to add to the storyline.

Long Woodson is composed of Matt Long and Gunter Woodson, who (awhile back) decided to unite, and work toward a collective goal, with a focused purpose - to kind of un-plug themselves from the Austin punk/rock scene and re-focus, and write (and record) a concept album (or two) together, package them up, perform them, and ultimately release them on a CD and see what happened. Their first concept album out of the chute is “Girl Upstairs”, and it is a solid, and earnest work. Each song is accompanied (and held up) almost entirely by acoustic guitar, and then softly (often adding a new dimension with the introduction of various other instruments) sewn together with great harmonies, that wrap around the simple acoustic sounds and pleasing melodies like a bouquet of fresh cut musical flowers that your ears approvingly smell and appreciate.

These guys were already veterans of the Austin music scene when they formed Long Woodson. They know the territory. The sound here is soft and subtle, with acoustic-based accompaniments and impressive two-part harmonies to fill in the gaps like sweet icing on a “best wishes” cake. “Girl Upstairs” comes off as handcrafted, detailed and skillfully artful. It is a successfully developed “concept album” by Long Woodson, that stands up to aural scrutiny. . .actually repeat listenings are needed, to completely absorb the storyline, but it is an interesting, entertaining place to revisit, as it is a well-told story, dark and mysteriously created, but also (as the cartoon cover art work clearly indicates), seriously dark, yet purposefully “cartoonish” as a counter-balance.

This is an interesting concept album that is worth a repeat listening. If their first album is any indication, these guys have a promising musical career. After all, this is their first rodeo and I think that they will only get better at it. Give “Girl Upstairs” a listen. Its well worth your time and effort. I am looking forward to the next one from Long Woodson.

R. Simeon Franks
- Lone Star Music Magazine


Discography

Robyville (2010) - A Concept Album

Singles:
Jimi
Creole Man
Nikki
Robyville
Horny as Me
Clearly
Chicago
Goodness
Graces Place
Tennessee Blue
Wichita
Strange Times

Girl Upstairs (2009) - A Concept Album

Singles:
Guys Like Him
It Ain't Me
Sweetly Naive
The Game
Too Long
Hey Lady
He Thinks
Remember My Name
Oh Smilin
Face Unknown
Girl Upstairs

Photos

Bio

Imagine a West Texas song swap around a campfire among country outlaws Waylon & Willie and such classic rockers as Lennon & McCartney and Richards, folk icons Simon & Garfunkel, and contemporary Texas songwriting talents like Todd Snider and Ben Kweller. That will give an idea of the depth and range as well as broad listener appeal found within the Austin-based duo Long Woodson on its novelistic CD song cycle, ROBYVILLE (release: Sept. 21, 2010).

It’s an imaginary place that everyone has passed through (and where some have even lived) populated by picturesque characters caught within the cycles of desire and addiction for so many things that many struggle with. Inspired by Marfa, Texas, ROBYVILLE is an imaginary place but very real state of mind as well as mystically tinged locale where bohemians, misfits, outcasts and loners both live out their destinies and find refuge, struggling with the compulsions found in the human soul, be they substances, love, sex, people, travel, where they feel at home and more.

The disc brims with vivid song gems squarely within the Texas music tradition such as “Jimi,” the title track and “Grace’s Place” where the tales and the people and places within them resonate with the force of reality. It travels through stylistic realms like the Caribbean lilt of “Clearly,” classic folk rock on “Creole Man” and “Wichita,” heartland country such as “Horny As Me,” the Americana vibe on “Chicago,” the symphonic touches within “Goodness,” and whiffs of the blues on “Strange Times.” Iced with rich vocal harmonies; laced with Southwestern musical flavors from Spanish guitar, mandolin and harmonica; and sparked with bristling Southern rock guitar lines, ROBYVILLE unfolds with the vibrancy and drama of literature and cinema as it examines the dark and light of peoples’ lives.

The album’s creators are two singer-songwriter-guitarists and kindred if complementary souls united in actual, creative and spiritual harmony. Matthew J. Long hails from McKinney, Texas; Gunter Woodson was reared in Houston. Both are avid music lovers and met in college in Austin, and coming to know and respect one another’s talents in boozy late-night picking and singing sessions.

After graduation, both traveled beyond the Lone Star State to gain experience within and insight into the big wide world and the fascinating people that populate it. Long moved to Stone Harbor, N.J., to run a surf shop and write a novel in the winter months. Woodson traveled to the Rockies Mountains and Crested Butte, Colo., and then opened a bike store in Thailand. Both began writing songs.

Woodson returned to Austin to attend graduate school, and Long followed shortly thereafter. They reunited in the band Juan Hitter and discovered further musical commonalities as well as contrasts that suggested a potent union as a duo when that band ended its run. “If you look at people in rock music terms, they fall into two camps: either The Beatles or Rolling Stones,” says Woodson. “I definitely lean toward Keith Richards, while Matt likes John Lennon.”

They found much more as they started collaborating on song ideas. Both were married and working, yet music echoed with a siren’s call of something more that they wanted in their lives.

After Woodson was diagnosed with brain cancer and survived two surgeries, “I walked away thinking, Life is short. I’m going to do what I love to do. I’m going to follow my passions,” he says.

Long was also motivated to follow his muse. “I’ve always felt this sheer need to create, and then sit back and appreciate what I’ve done and hope someone else does so, too,” he says.

Sharing a taste for conceptual thinking applied to the stories in songs they write, Long Woodson cut a debut album, GIRL UPSTAIRS (released in 2009), which explored the notion of obsession among three interwoven characters. Then while on a retreat to the West Texas ranch that Long bought with some friends “to go out there and drink a lot of tequila and do a bunch of guy stuff,” he says, the idea for their next recording arose.

“We were talking about how we’d both become intrigued by the idea of Marfa, a bohemian community in rural Texas, and the artistic types who live there as well as the metaphysical elements like the Marfa Lights,” says Long.

It offered an ideal framework for their next work in what the two describe as a genuine 50/50 musical union. “He has strengths I don’t have and vice versa,” says Woodson. “We pride ourselves on having harmonious and symphonic vocal backgrounds and being rhythmically spot-on.” Writing musically rooted and literate songs with pop hooks blend their many inspirations and influences and catch a plethora of ears.

Long Woodson takes listeners on a picturesque sonic tour of ROBYVILLE and introduces them to its so-real-you-know-them residents. “It’s all imagination,” Woodson says.

“But there’s truth in what we’re singing,” says Long. And listeners shouldn’t be surprised if they find t