GOSHEN — From Music City to the Maple City, Betsey Long is working on the album that she hopes will define her.
The daughter of musicians Jim Long and Cherrill Long, Betsey grew up surrounded by sound in Nashville, Tenn. She spent her summers in Goshen, where her dad grew up and grandparents, Bill and Lucy Long, still live.
Despite some success that included being a featured background vocalist on Miranda Lambert’s Grammy award winning record, “Fastest Girl In Town” and having her songs appear on various TV shows, Long was dealing with both personal and professional challenges.
Living in Los Angeles for a time, Long, 26, was ready to move back to Nashville when she decided to change things up. While her grandparents retreated south for the fall and winter, Long holed up in their California-style home in Goshen’s Gorham Woods to work on songs for her next album.
The story mirrors that of indie-rock darling and grammy-award winner Justin Vernon, who, performing as Bon Iver, took to his parents cabin in Wisconsin for the winter. What came of it was the haunting “For Emma, Forever Ago.”
Though Long is still working to make that perfect album (expected to be released this winter), she has completed several songs. In the piano-driven, Norah Jones-tinged ballad “That’s The World I’ve Been In,” Long touches on heartbreak, “Tell me who to stop this heart from wanting him.” In the haunting “Gypsy Lover” she sings “I’m a gypsy lover but you stole my heart away.”
Home to inspiration
“A lot of my best songs came out of Goshen,” Long said in a phone interview with The Goshen News Tuesday afternoon.
During her time of self-imposed solitude in her grandparents home, Long said she drew inspiration from everything to the woods that surrounded the home to the vintage furniture.
“I’d just sit there and play piano — sometimes with a glass of Jameson — and just create,” Long said.
Long said she has a lot of songs for her new album ready but may head back to her grandparent’s home again.
“I’m considering another month of solitude.”
Even before her time spent writing for her new album, Long has used Goshen as a place to draw inspiration.
“I wrote a song on the Ferris wheel at the Elkhart County Fair about a carnival,” she said with a chuckle.
Long and Shannon LaBrie will perform at Ignition Garage, 120 E. Washington St. in Goshen Thursday night. Long said she is excited about playing such an intimate venue. “Playing at bigger venues when it’s full of people talking to their friends it can be a bit tougher,” Long said. “A place like Ignition gives me a chance to showcase my lyrics. People in Goshen seem to really appreciate music. That’s so rewarding as an artist and songwriter.”
Tickets are $20 and the show starts at 7:30 p.m.
“I’m dying to record in Welcome to 1979 in Nashville,” Long said of the highly regarded retro studio. “It’s all analog.”
Already on board for the album is Charlie McCoy, legendary harmonica and session player. Long hopes to surround herself with session musicians that can help her make that perfect record. Long said she hopes to experiment with some blues on this record.
Though the process for this album has taken longer than usual, it’s because Long said she’s learned from her mistakes.
“I wasn’t patient before,” she explained. “That’s why I’m taking so long. I had some stuff before that kept me going. But it was taking. And I know I didn’t write my best material.”
And Long isn’t holding herself back when it comes to what she wants to achieve.
“I know artists say this a lot, but I believe it,” she said. “I do want to change the world. I want to write some political songs. I want to promote love.”