Casey Dubie navigates a vein of folk-pop that avoids the saccharine. Layered arrangements, plaintive melodies, and thoughtful lyricism made her name as a long-standing artist from Vermont. Her synth-driven “Confetti” hit a viral streak when PopMatters premiered her atmospheric reinvention of Carole King’s “It’s Too Late”. In the three years between then and now, Dubie has produced a new single, “I Tried”.
The tune is part of a larger project that Dubie has been working on and was one of the first songs born following a hefty case of writer’s block. Cerebral fingerpicked melodies recall Adrianne Lenker, with Dubie’s vocal delivery selling the song’s earnest reflections. It’s a subtle scorcher that builds up as it goes. At first, it’s just Dubie, soft percussion, and acoustic guitar. By its second verse, it’s constructing intricate synth towers to carry things along. It’s a fine exhibit of the artist’s knack for developing intriguing, offbeat arrangements, with arpeggiated percussion and stacking synths.
Dubie tells PopMatters, “I’d say overall this record almost started as a writing experiment. I hadn’t written anything for a while and was feeling frustrated about it.”
“I almost had to trick myself into being creative again because I think artists put a lot of pressure on themselves and have a hard time shaking free of their critical mind. So, I told myself to write every morning. Even if the songs were bad, just to write them. That’s how this album was born, porch mornings in Vermont, allowing myself to write judgment-free. I started writing a few months after the pandemic started, so some of the songs are processing the world being on pause as well as feelings catching up to me when there was no longer the bustle of day-to-day life to distract me.”
“This song, in particular, was one I threw out because I thought it was bad, but my producer, Micah, told me there was really something there and to keep working on it. This one came alive in the studio. Probably my favorite part is the intricacies of verse two. I think the grander scheme of the record is processing some stuff that caught up with me. And this one starts that all off with a directness and honesty that I think is compelling.”