With a pure, expressive voice and a fondness for lonesome steel guitar, Brian Dunne is a Brooklyn singer-songwriter who will release his first full-length album, Songs From the Hive, on Feb. 17. Naturally his calendar is thick with upcoming tour dates, so the restless message of “Long Long Gone” is a fitting one.
Hear the CMT Edge premiere of “Long Long Gone,” then read a Q&A below the player.
CMT Edge: What was on your mind as you began to write “Long Long Gone”?
Dunne: I wanted to write a farewell song. I tour pretty consistently and there’s always something very bittersweet about leaving and not always having a reason, but knowing you have to go. In a way, it’s a song about the anxiety that comes with a life in music; always needing to be on the move, despite what it costs. I wanted to leave it open-ended enough that everyone could relate though.
I like how this arrangement has room to breathe and you give the band a chance to shine, too. What do you remember about the day you recorded this one?
Cutting this one was an amazing experience. The whole record was recorded live with the intention of capturing the organic feel of a band. Myself and co-producer Andrew Sarlo were on a steady diet of Dylan and The Band when making this record, so we really dug into the idea that the players could stretch out a bit without stepping on the song. I’m glad you picked up on that, since that was my main goal, production-wise.
We cut this one towards the end of the recording process, late into the night, and I think it had the personality we were looking for. Layered with Rich Hinman’s great pedal steel-playing and Ken Yates’s background vocals, I felt we captured the true weary essence of the song.
Where is your hometown and how would you describe it to someone who’s never been there? And where are you living these days?
I grew up in a town called Monroe, about an hour outside of New York City. It was an interesting place to grow up because it was just close enough to the city that you could get a taste, but far enough away for it to be romantic to me. Monroe is also about an hour south of Woodstock and the cultural impact of that has had a definite effect on my music. It was still a typical suburban town in most ways, though, so I still had that itch to get out and never come back. There’s a little bit of that in this song, I suppose.
I now live in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, which sort of feels like the last frontier of the East Village or something. New York is a crazy place but it’s full of inspiration and Brooklyn has a great scene that nurtures its artists and writers. It’s a real tough city, but once it gets its hooks in you, it’s hard to leave.