Bruce Sudano Tells a Cautionary Tale on “American Sunset”

There’s a reckoning. It’s been coming down the line. Opening on these lines, the scene is set. Moving into Bruce Sudano’s “American Sunset,” there’s a revelation of a country at the brink of breakage, one seeped in divisiveness, racial inequality, violence, and a persistent pandemic, yet still full of hope and ready for a new beginning.

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The first single off the singer and songwriter’s Spirals, Vol. 2, Time And The Space in Between (Purple Heart Recording Co.), out Oct. 23, “American Sunset” dives deeper into the state of America and continues what Sudano already started in his collection of songs, beginning with Spirals Volume 1, Not A Straight Line To Be Found, released April 2020.

In a year where Sudano’s musical journey has had its twists, and turns, Spirals, was the fitting title for two-part EP, and one the artist says was chosen as a metaphor for life—memories, a collision of dreams, and reality, all spiraling into one.

Where Vol. 1 was stocked in bluesy reflections of his New York roots, growing up in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn, a la the nostalgic thump of “Back in the Neighborhood” or Sudano’s ruminations on his own mortality on “See You When I Get There,” Spirals‘ second part retains it introspection, exploring new love—Sudano was married in February—and reveals a lush, poetic brew of folk- and pop-driven narrations seeped in the country’s current socio-political climate.

“I wrote ‘American Sunset’ out of concern for the direction of my country and as a warning, fearing that if we don’t change our ways we will continue to sink as a nation already evidencing the early stages of decline,” says Sudano. “The reasons for this [are] self-assuredness, flagrant pride and conceit, unbridled selfishness, deceit, denial, the obliteration of truth, the already overwhelming, and growing inequality—which in itself is a certain road to revolution—all of this fueled by a government configured to protect and enrich those in power.”

Visually, “American Sunset” rises against stark images of empty city streets and highways, medical personnel, protestors, and various images of daily life in America in the video, produced by Roksound. Tranquil in its tone, there’s an underlying cautionary tale of demons of deceit and denial on “American Sunset,” leaving a lingering pause, and reflection. America needs change, or things will set as they are.

American Sunset” is not an ode to a finished world but one still very much full of hope… to rebuild into a greater state.

Dividing his time between New York, Los Angeles, and Milan, Sudano, known for his past work with Michael and Jermaine Jackson, Dolly Parton, and Reba McEntire, also split the production locale of Vol. 2‘s seven tracks between Vol. 1 producer Steve Addabbo (Suzanne Vega, Jeff Buckley) in New York, Randy Ray Mitchell (Billy Bob Thornton) in Los Angeles, and Hollis Brown frontman Mike Montali in Brooklyn.

Produced and recorded by Sudano at Studio b in Los Angeles, on the surface, “American Sunset” might imply a darkening of the light, and defeat, but this story is more of an alarm to the nation, ringing in The undivided truth slipping through our hands / falling all in pieces on the floor and reiterated through its delicate delivery of If we don’t get back to the beauty of the elegant design / We’re bound to see the dimming the light.

“We have abandoned the principles that made America great and have allowed rampant greed in the name of capitalism to become our god,” says Sudano. “Thus, we are headed for sunset, unless we can change our course. It’s not too late.”  

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