Fridays After Five: The Long Way

Fri, Aug 16, 2024

Fridays After Five: The Long Way

with Andrew Neil and Code Purple


The Long Way - Soulful Rock with a Funky Southern Sauce

Some rock formations take millions of years to come together. In the case of Andy Waldeck and Joe Lawlor, their 40-year partnership has yielded musical elements of hard rock, heavy metal, funk metal, soul, and funk rock. Time and pressure have tested and changed their musical collaboration and their friendship, but like the orbit of our third rock around the sun, Andy and Joe took the long way and ended up back where they started: brothers in axe, writing music with no boundaries.
Welcome to THE LONGWAY, a partnership written in stone.

“The Longway is like a musical garden,” Andy explains. “Multiple styles growing in sync with others, all expertly executed with the love and attention to detail that comes from years of making music together.”

Originally hailing from Washington D.C., Joe and Andy met in the summer of 1984 at the Berkeley College of Music in Boston and became fast friends. Over the years they have created groundbreaking music together and separately, beginning with their standout punk/funk rock band Egypt, selling out iconic venues like the Bayou and CBGB’s. Since then Joe has toured the world live recording and appearing onstage with the Dave Matthews Band, and Andy created the cult-fan band Earth to Andy and became an accomplished engineer and producer of all types of music. Now both based in Charlottesville/central Virginia, they’re bringing a lifetime of deftly-honed skills to their new project.

With THE LONGWAY, Waldeck/Lawlor dive into their own history: their full-tilt beginnings as poor, hardworking musicians on the road, the romantic loves that blinded and burned them along the way, all with the unfettered hope that it’s never too late to change your story.

Their new self-titled EP is a stylistic trip through peaks of hard rock and valleys of blue-eyed soul. Heavy Metal tires on the grooves of Motown Funk recall the rhythm of the road, where the duo have spent so much of their lives. Drawing on a lifetime of classic/hard/funk rock inspiration, from Led Zeppelin and the Black Crowes to Alice In Chains, the Doobie Brothers, and the Meters, THE LONGWAY doesn’t discriminate, seamlessly melding stylistic elements into an original sound of shiny chrome and rusty distortion.

Indeed, several of the songs were literally born on the road.

The southern-rock standout “Holy Roller” started with one of Joe’s iconic guitar riffs, written in the back lounge of a tour bus. Unapologetic and with joyful swagger, the tune lyrically explores the often tip-toed subject of blind religious faith clashing with reason and understanding. “We have all had friends or family members who’ve taken their religious beliefs too far, using twisted versions of scripture to cultivate hate, fear, or dissent among people,” Joe and Andy agree. “It’s both ignorant and frightening, so we wanted to write about it.”

Also conceived in the bus’ back lounge, the sexy-smooth anthem, “To The Wind” features Andy’s easy falsetto over a Motown-inspired slow groove. The classic call-and-response style chorus is buoyed by a Hammond B3 organ, as the lyrics call out to anyone who has had a friend or lover who treats them like dirt, up until the moment when they need you. “Here, we were examining the duality of human selfishness and selflessness,” Andy says.

On the indignant “Red” Lawlor/Waldeck explore a theme of blind rage, sonically anchored by a funk-rock guitar riff a-la Jimi Hendrix, and an undeniable groove reminiscent of James Brown. “This song is simply about anger,” they detail, “how we deal with it, try to overcome it… but sometimes, in the end, succumb to its temptations and feelings of self-righteousness. A person can no easier control the weather than the actions of another human being, but some still struggle to control how that makes them behave. For some, all they see is red.”

“Oldest Story” brings a dose of mirror-chrome heavy metal for its all-in chorus, with lyrics paying homage to the intensity and power of love: She’s the one, shining brighter than the sun. The song the band calls their “red-headed stepchild” was born from a Led Zeppelin-esque chorus riff, but the verses carry the heavier darkness of Alice In Chains, illustrating THE LONGWAY’s adept stylistic welding and melding.

If “Oldest Story” is the red-headed stepchild, the upbeat funky “Get That Right” is its blue-eyed-soul foil in the novel. With a sunny 1970s vibe and lyrics about learning from your mistakes so you can do better, “Get That Right” features a third co-writer by the name of Jai Robinson (drummer and backup singer for the whole EP), as well as a guest-star appearance by the Dave Matthews Band’s trumpet player Rashawn Ross, who wrote an entire brass section for the energetic tune.

The title track “Longway,” (which actually inspired the band’s name, not the other way around) is an auto-biographical blues rock banger so steeped in life on the road you can almost smell the teen spirit, endless optimism, and that old McDonalds bag in the back of the van. It’s the sound of eager trailblazers with dreams of fame and fortune, but the lyrics give a reality check: Nobody’s stackin’ up the benjamins, there ain’t enough here to count. They’ve proved themselves a hundred times over, nobody got rich, and still: all they want to do is play. The changes they’ve seen are secretly evident at the start of the tune: that motor you hear was a sound chosen by Andy’s son Aiden.

THE LONGWAY invites you on an epic journey, that of timeless music made by two lifelong best friends. So hop in, start the motor and kick it in.

You get to write your own ending.


Free Show
  • Show

    5:30 PM
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