SOUTHERN UTAH — Guitarist Robert Earl Longley is coming to Southern Utah to entertain with selections from his latest album “Guitar Royale” at two Southern Utah locations.
Longley will play Thursday at the Center for the Arts at Kayenta in Ivins and Saturday at the Canyon Community Center in Springdale.
For Longley, music is natural and intuitive, so it was important for him to discover it on his own, according to the event announcement from Zion Arts and Humanities Council, Z-Arts. The mysterious aspect of learning new musical techniques intrigues him and he enjoys sharing those techniques, as well as what inspires him to create the music, with the audience.
Longley began dabbling with stringed instruments from a very young age. He took first place in eight competitions in two years time while in his 20s and now has a large collection of different stringed instruments along with a recording studio. Despite having an ear for music, he still spends four to six hours per day perfecting his musical techniques.
As a child, Longley listened to classical symphonic music. As he grew older, he discovered the Flamenco music of Carlos Montoya, who is still his favorite. Longley would go to Montoya’s concerts with binoculars so he could watch his hands.
It was a very inspiring experience and the music still brings him great joy. But Longley never desired to reproduce someone else’s music, he said. Longley claims he’s not trainable, desiring instead to create his own unique sound.
“The only rule is there are no rules, and that’s a wonderful place to be in any kind of art,” Longley said. “You create your own parameters. You choose the tools, the instruments, and then creatively there’s no limit.”
Growing up in New Orleans, Longley was also influenced by American blues and southern country blues. The New Orleans jazz music was really not his thing, because he was more interested in the guitar being the principal instrument. But he’s not shy about experimenting. In addition to percussion and keyboard, Longley also learned how to play the harp. While in New Orleans, he acquired an Irish harp and took lessons, practicing diligently. He ended up playing folk music with the harp.
Having produced the film scores of two films shown at the Sundance Film Festival, Longley said he enjoys the orchestral, progressive nature of film music and he desires future opportunities.
Fans of rock, jazz and even classical guitar find Longley’s original compositions and masterful delivery melodious, flamboyant and exhilarating. His musical artistry and friendly manner never fail to awe audiences of all ages. Longley currently has ten albums. He will be performing from his latest, “Guitar Royale,” during his visit to southern Utah.
Longley will perform at the Center for the Arts at Kayenta located at 881 Coyote Gulch Court in Ivins Thursday at 7 p.m. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased online.
The Zion Arts and Humanities Council, Z-Arts, will host an encore concert Saturday at 7 p.m. in the Canyon Community Center located at 126 Lion Boulevard in Springdale. Admission is $10 per Z-Arts member, $15 per non-member, cash or check at the door. More information can be found online or by calling 435-772-3434 ext. 313.
Longley will give a demonstration to the students of Springdale Elementary School Friday as well.