Between Sara Curtin’s solo album, Fly Her And Keep Her, and her second, Michigan Lilium, it was a five-year wait. Between the second and her latest, Or So It Seemed, the wait went down to two years. So if we’re doing Music Math, does that mean album four will be out in 2018?
“We’ll see. I can tell you I’m already writing,” she laughs, noting that from 2010 to 2015, she also put out three albums with her folk duo, The Sweater Set.
But why let details get in the way of a good story? The bottom line is that Curtin has taken the momentum from the well-received Michigan Lilium record and carried it into the new one, which features a familiar group that she’s been working with since that 2015 release.
“I have been really fortunate the last two years since Michigan Lilium to work with the same musicians,” she said. “That’s really been a huge encouragement to me, and it’s really stable to be able to build those relationships with musicians and your friends and then get to make that music together. This is the first record that I’ve ever done where that’s the case. The other albums I did, I played with the musicians before but we didn’t practice all the time and we didn’t get together and play shows regularly, so this one became more of a family to me.”
That cohesion is evident on Or So It Seemed, where Curtin’s songs touch on all the personal topics that are a hallmark of her work, while also addressing life in 2017, which, for all Americans, especially those living in Washington, D.C., is quite different than it was a year ago at this time.
“I think it’s important for our situation to always be on our mind,” she said. “In addition to that, coupled with the importance, I think it’s inevitable. Our consciousness is so politically focused, and even things like love are political, so when an artist reflects on love, even that is a statement and it’s an important statement to make and an important reminder to give people. But definitely in D.C., tension is high and awareness is high. So it does infiltrate the songwriting.”
Yet while most artists tackling the issues make sure you know they’re tackling the issues from beginning to end, Curtin’s approach musically and lyrically takes you away from the front lines, so to speak, allowing the listener to reflect in a different way.
“The way that I write is introspectively and personally, so I hope that’s what listeners connect to on a very human, small scale, as opposed to trying to tie up the macro experience nicely in some neat little package with a bow,” she said. “I’ve tried to write songs that reflect on current events before and they seem to be sort of bad and heavy-handed, and so it’s better when I’m clearer and more concise and when I try to relate it inward.”
And though Curtin does have an album to promote, with the latest stop being a Brooklyn gig at C’mon Everybody, she’s giving back as well, having launched her own record label, Local Woman Records. Around these parts, we call folks like Curtin gluttons for punishment.
“I don’t think of it as a punishment,” she laughs. “I see it more as an open-ended opportunity with possibilities. I created it myself, and there’s no real format for record labels or the music business right now. Everyone’s trying things out to see what sticks so, for me, this label is open-ended and will allow me to work with artists that I admire and respect and help them in ways that they want to be helped.”
Or in other words, music is Sara Curtin’s life, and she’s okay with that.
“What makes you get up in the morning and have energy and drive?” she asks. “Music has been a part of me for my whole life and I never made the choice to love music. It’s what I’m hopefully best at, and I love it. I want to do it all the time.”
Sara Curtin plays C’mon Everybody in Brooklyn tonight, October 6. For tickets, click here
For more information on Sara Curtin, click here