REVIEW: Laura Sumner — American Man (SINGLE)
“American Man” is the new single from singer/songwriter Laura Sumner. Unpretentious and gloriously original, this Americana track is a clever sonic escape. Rich with guitar movement and Sumner’s instant rapport vocals, “American Man” is from her soon-to-be-released full-length album. Sumner gives life to the vulnerabilities facing Americans and the Mom and Pop businesses scattered throughout and within small towns in the U.S.A. “American Man” is not necessarily a big sound, but it’s a resounding, impactful coda.
In this land of freedom they say that you can have it all, the track’s chorus moves along like a news story flashing before your eyes. At a time when listeners have a short attention span and devour Spotify playlists, “American Man” brews like an artisan cup of coffee. It takes the time to infuse all the flavors and textures. Sumner’s voice is confident and altogether emotional. She really cares for the subject that she’s singing about. She’s frightened and alarmed about life changing before her — the rules have changed. I think what makes her so hauntingly beautiful when she sings is that she doesn’t hide behind any bells and whistles. Sumner arms her voice with the Laurel Canyon like sound that has fast-forwarded itself to the present. In another life she might be Joni Mitchell or Joan Baez, but for now she’s stoic and straightforward. Sumner never lets the listener go on her grip.
I think this song can be taken literally — the idea that the American workforce has a new way of doing things. She also touches on companies being disloyal and the sacrifice it takes to be with a company for decades, only to be given walking papers and ‘no thanks’. I don’t think that is new, I think that sentiment has been going on in America for some time. I think that’s her point. It has to change, it used to be where you rooted for American companies and that they made a difference. Maybe my summation is two steps beyond (or behind) what she’s inferring, but “American Man” feels very inspiring yet sorrowful. As an American, don’t we want the best and to be boastful? I’d like to think so. It’s a big world out there — it would be interesting to listen to this song from the perspective of an immigrant or someone that is not American. I suppose we can save that for another feature.
“American Man” at its core is still an incredibly produced and executed song. I think it tiptoes into Adult Contemporary, but for the most part, fans of the folk/Americana genre will be delighted. Sumner has a fascinating voice that is full of wonder and slight bluesy tones. I really dig her Bohemian-like vibe. She’s quite the observer and “American Man” flings the listener into a front row seat onto Sumner’s poetic journey. I wanted to hear a few more verses, additional stanzas that created an even bigger picture. Alas, I will settle for what she provided. “American Man” is a stunning reminder that the American Dream is a work in progress.