“Big Blue Crown,” the opening cut from new duo Curtin’s lissome and delicate debut album, One for the Doghearted, doesn’t tip its hand too quickly. “You wear a big blue crown / Around your neck, and it rolls around, rolls around,” lulls frontman Jason Rueger (formerly of Country Mice). It’s pure imagery, a lyric so simple as to be obtuse—if it weren’t so clearly deeply felt.
“When Jason and I started going through the demos for this record,” explains Austin Nelson, who plays drums and guitar (and is also a longtime Interview contributor), “‘Big Blue Crown’ was the first one we both knew we just had to record. It’s a beautiful song he wrote about how he felt when his wife, Lauren, started school in Chicago while he was still finishing things up in New York, and how badly he missed her, and how difficult it is to not feel sorry for yourself and to try to lift yourself up when you’re in a situation where you feel that way.”
Curtin is Brooklyn-bred, but the sense of magic-hour space on One for the Doghearted is thanks to Southern influence—the album was produced and recorded at The Lowercase Capitol, a rather cheekily named studio that Rueger and Nelson built together at Nelson’s home in Charleston, South Carolina.
In its spare but evocative lyrics and delicate, unhurried guitar and synth lines, you might be tempted to make a Wilco comparison—which is no accident; “Big Blue Crown” is one of four songs on the album for which Curtin enlisted the help of Mikael Jorgensen.
A heavy hitter, for a debut album. “We are extremely fortunate,” Nelson acknowledges. “But I should probably mention that we’re still accepting donations.”
CURTIN WILL PLAY PIANOS APRIL 18 AND CAMEO GALLERY IN BROOKLYN APRIL 19. FOR MORE ON THE DUO, PLEASE VISIT ITS FACEBOOK PAGE.