Over the last few years, Jonathon “Boogie” Long has shredded with enthusiastic fervor from the Acura Stage and the Blues Tent at Jazz Fest as well as the Bogalusa Blues Fest and the Crescent City Blues & BBQ Fest. But nothing beats spending some time with this personable and genuine young man on the front porch of a ramshackle shack in the swamp near his Baton Rouge home.
At 27 years young, Long has earned many well-deserved accolades, including rising above thousands of competitors to be crowned Guitar Center’s “King of the Blues” in 2011, which gained him nationwide notoriety. Long was inspired by the late Michael Burks, who was dubbed “Iron Man” for his energetic and passionate performances on stage, and one can see his influence in the way Long plays: with intensity and fire, as if the riffs come directly from his soul. His vocal technique is his own unique sound, smooth and edgy at the same time.
With music in his blood from the beginning, Boogie began playing gospel guitar at the age of 6 while growing up in Baton Rouge. “My grandfather played in the church,” Long said. “I grew up around people holding guitars. When I was 8, my dad bought me an acoustic guitar from a pawn shop and put me in lessons.” His natural abilities surfaced, and by age 12 he was on stage. Over a decade later, he was touring and opening for B.B. King. He related, “Touring and opening for the King of the Blues, Mr. B.B. King, a soulful man full of joy and wisdom, was a life changing experience. But I also know how much work we still have to do. This was the first step toward the next step. It’s just a building block, laying another Lego down so we can build our fortress. We are ready to step up and really knock it out of the park.”
As he rocked in his chair on the rickety front porch, Long took a sip of moonshine and expressed his excitement and anticipation to play with his band, the Blues Revolution, first at T-Bois Blues Fest and once again at Jazz Fest. He has also performed at OffBeat’s Best of the Beat Awards, French Quarter Festival and many other festivals in the United States, Canada and Germany. Long has played with Warren Haynes and Gov’t Mule, ZZ Top, Robert Cray, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Ana Popovic, and 3 Doors Down, among many others. He leaned back and launched into some tasty licks using the moonshine jar as a slide. Long recently completed recording a new CD made up of 12 songs spanning the genres of blues, soul, rock and funk plus a bonus interlude. It should be coming out soon, hopefully before Jazz Fest.
“I’m trying to keep the legacy of the blues going. The blues is my heart, soul and passion and I love writing with the challenge of tackling various genres. I write blues, country, folk, R&B and Southern soul.”
His evolution from gospel to blues to the whole spectrum of Southern-inspired music is a delight to experience. Catch this promising and ambitious young man on stage and up close and personal in the crowd on Saturday, March 19 at T-Bois Blues Fest and circle him on your Jazz Fest “cubes” on Friday, April 29. You will be delighted and held spellbound with his energetic performance