By Mike Dunn
“I’ve always had this innate draw towards…heavier content,” muses Bob Sumner as he prepares for the release of his debut solo record, Wasted Love Songs. “Whether it was the rock music I grew up on in the ’90s, or the classic rock, all those bands had ballads, and the deeper lyrical stuff, the harder emotion, that was the part of the music I connected with the most.”
Wasted Love Songs, produced by Erik Nielsen in Vancouver, finds Sumner treading some evocative emotional ground, his gentle tenor backed with subtlety and tasteful ambience. Sumner’s songs gracefully tie a tread connecting the flickering cowboy campfire to the streetlight-bathed city alleys, with arrangements that draw a straight line from Townes Van Zandt to Bruce Springsteen.
Sumner’s hometown release show will see Sumner backed by Nielsen on bass, with Etienne Tremblay on guitar, Leon Power on drums, and Max Zipursky on keys, while old Sumner friends Willy Tea Taylor and Leslie Stevens will be driving up from California to open the shows.
“We met Willy on tour about ten years ago, and he’s the legend as far as I’m concerned,” says Sumner. “Willy’s from Oakdale, California. There they call it, ‘The Cowboy Capital of The World’ because so many rodeo cowboys are from there. Last time we tried to get him into Canada, he’d had some issues with the law and it wasn’t possible, but I’m pretty sure we’re good now. He’s starting to do really well, he co-headlined a show with Steve Earle and Emmylou Harris last year, with like, equal billing. And Leslie Stevens, we were on a Townes Van Zandt tribute record a few years ago, she was on it as well, so we looked her up when we went through Los Angeles. L.A. Weekly called her ‘the best country singer in L.A.’, and she really writes great songs, and sings in that beautiful, classic Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris style.”
Bob Sumner will be releasing Wasted Love Songs in Vancouver at the WISE Hall on Friday, January 25 with Willy Tea Taylor and Leslie Stevens opening. You can RSVP here.
Bob Sumner, Vancouver, Wasted Love Songs