May 02, 2022
By Caleb Campbell
Photography by Vincent Bancheri
Next week, singer/songwriter Matt Dorrien is set to share his sophomore full-length record, Blue Pastoral. After debuting with his 2018 record, In The Key of Grey, Dorrien’s latest work sees him embracing a lush combination of twinkling jazz, classic singer/songwriter fare, and playful samba and tropicalia rhythms, concocting a colorful new creative vision. Today, Dorrien is back with the final single from the forthcoming record, “United States of Nothing,” premiering with Under the Radar.
Though much of the album explores the warm and welcoming side of Dorrien’s songwriting, “United States of Nothing” is a more thoughtful and insular offering, meditating on the bleak underbelly of an unrealized American dream. The track feels like a product of a long-lost era, complete with sweeping swells of strings, stirring keys, and beautiful stacked harmonies. Dorrien resurrects the lush melodicism and ruminative bent of singer/songwriters like Randy Newman or Harry Nilsson, marrying them with the classic touch of quintessentially American touchstones like George Gershwin.
The results imbue delicate arrangements with crushing emotional weight as Dorrien ruminates on the life of a struggling singer/songwriter on the road: “United States of nothing / But broken dreams and farmland / Cold empty nights / Playing songs I don’t believe anymore / But I know you believe in me.”
Dorrien shares: “‘US of N’’ is another album centerpiece in my mind. I wrote this song shortly after a tour I went on before the release of my last album In the Key of Grey. I was channeling my favorite American composers Randy Newman, Paul Simon, Aaron Copland, etc., and their use of inversions, diminished chords, and suspensions to build tension. The lyrics are the outpouring of a lifetime of thankless tours, and unrequited musical offerings, packaged in the bleakness of the American landscape in winter – but ultimately about finding salvation in true love.”
Check out the song and video below. Blue Pastoral is out May 13th via Mama Bird Recording Co.