Financial adviser by day and musician every chance he gets, Eric Long is a bit of a Renaissance man. He’s been playing the guitar since he was 7 or 8, and has now gathered a group of like-minded musical visionaries, some who, like Long, have day jobs, and whose only geographic commonality is the East Coast.
“My producer Michael Gardner has other projects he is involved with. Singer Dave Atkinson is a busy physician. The guest musicians are all from out of town and have their own active schedules,” said Long. “Guitarist Tom Yoder and keyboardist Dave Adams live in Raleigh and drummer Kenny Soule resides in New York City.”
Although this makes traditional, live gigs impractical, it has made for some amazing recordings, the background for which Long expounded upon during a recent chat.
“I like albums with a theme. The newest record ‘Majors & Minors’ is about war and love. The first record ‘Sunset Provisions’ was about the progression of life- from youth to old age,” he said.
Why do it?
The greatest satisfaction is knowing someone got real meaning from your music. After a longtime friend of mine lost his father, I called to offer condolences. In the background I heard that he was listening to the OTA song “Summer Swimming.” He was very emotional and told me just how much that song reminded him of his father. He thanked me. That is what it’s all about.
What inspires you to write a song? What is your process?
Inspiration comes from everyday life. For example, the song “Brains” (from “Sunset Provisions”) came from me feeding turtles in a lake. One head popped up, then another, then another. I thought that these creatures were somehow communicating with each other from across the lake. They have brains. We all have brains!
The music comes first, written on guitar. After playing it and hearing it enough the words begin to flow. Hopefully the lyrics match the mood of the music.
What audience does your music typically appeal to?
I refer to OTA as “thinking man’s music.” I find that music that requires numerous listenings to “get” often has a deeper meaning over the long haul. So the type of listener that would like OTA would be one who is willing to think outside the box.
What are some of your biggest musical influences?
Radiohead, U2, REM, Pink Floyd, The Beatles, Jeff Beck.
What advice would you offer aspiring musicians?
I’ll paraphrase Joe Walsh here, “You can never be a rock star in your parents’ basement.”