Bob Sumner Charts Loneliness On “New York City”

Photo courtesy of the artist

On January 25, Vancouver-based songwriter Bob Sumner will release Wasted Love Songs, his debut solo project. The album follows Sumner’s work as one half of Americana duo the Sumner Brothers.

Sumner is offering a preview of Wasted Love Songs in the form of “New York City,” a plaintive ballad about lost love and loneliness. Sumner wrote “New York City” about a former flame who nannied for Elvis Costello and Diana Krall in Vancouver and New York City, though one particularly powerful line from the song, “That’s when the lonesome sets in,” came from a chance friendship with an older widower.

I was hanging out with my friends Willy Tea Taylor and Soda Gardocki in Knights Ferry, California,” Sumner says. “They have this old-timer buddy named Benny who lives out there and had recently lost his wife. Benny is salt of the earth, a wonderful, kind-hearted man. He has these crazy caves under his home he uses as his wine cellar and also makes his own Grappa down there. After shows at the Knights Ferry Saloon we’d go back to Benny’s caves and drink and trade songs. Benny was telling Willy and Soda that it’s when all the folks clear out, ‘That’s when the lonesome sets in.’ That line, ‘That’s when the lonesome sets in,’ floored us all. So poignant. We all agreed we’d use it in a song and I think we all did. I finished off the second half of ‘New York City’ with that line as my anchor.”

Listen to “New York City” below.