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Bob Sumner: Video Premiere - 'Broken Record'

By Jof Owen

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Tucked away at the tail end of last year was Bob Sumner's truly lovely ‘California’ single; a lovelorn lament to the landscape of his youth. Written on a grey rainy Vancouver day, ‘California’ found the Canadian singer’s mind wandering back down the I-5 and yearning for the sun, sea and surf of his childhood vacations with his grandparents.

“Sitting here in this grey town / Wishing I could get gone / But I don’t got no money / Oh, how I wish I had some,” he sings in the wistful country lament to a lost time. “It’s been raining for ages / Last I saw the sun, she ducked behind the mountains / She headed south on the run”.

Joining it now is its equally brilliant sidekick, ‘Broken Record’. Originally recorded for his critically acclaimed debut, Wasted Love Songs, the two songs ended up being cut from the track-listing, but they share the album’s same gentle arrangements and delicate orchestration.

‘These songs are not a second cousin or a little sibling to the rest of that record”, explains Sumner. “They absolutely could have lived with Wasted Love Songs. We had an optimal run time limit for our vinyl and wanted our audio quality to represent the love we put into the record so we had to cut a couple tunes”.

Sumner and Producer Erik Nielsen had a tough time deciding what songs to cut, however, but in the end it all came perfectly into focus. ‘California’ and ‘Broken Record’ feel like taking two bites from different ends of the same burrito; it’s the same delicious taste but it’s a different mouthful.

‘Broken Record’ is a classic sad guy break-up song, reminiscent of a 70s Willie Nelson bar room ballad replete with honky tonk piano, pedal steel and Spanish guitar. It’s a song for the bottom of that first bottle and the first few sips of the second; for those nights when all you want to do is sit there and soak it up in a bar that feels like home. If you’re lucky, they’ve got this tune on the jukebox and you’ve got enough quarters to put it on all night.

"It’s not a new story”, Sumner admits. “Quite the opposite I think. It is a pretty universal one. Love is a tough game. It’s easy to find but it is a hell of a thing to hold on to. When you’re in the stages of that loss, the moment you realize it is slipping, or the last time the door slams, that can feel like a broken record."

Watch the new video for ‘Broken Record’ premiering exclusively on Holler below.

‘Broken Record’ is released on 5th May on North Country Collective Records