After spending 12 years as the creative force behind American roots rock band Augustana, singer/songwriter/guitarist Dan Layus will emerge with his debut solo album, Dangerous Things (due October 2016). Layus had already honed his craft during his decade plus with Augustana, having started the band as a freshman in college. Although the band enjoyed radio hits, including the triple platinum anthem, Boston they encountered their most success on the road, doing over 200 dates a year playing to ever expanding audiences.
Augustana emerged at a time when Triple A radio was chalk full of American bands trying to sound sound British. However, they stood out from the pack thanks to the undeniable ethos and feel of their American forefathers, such as Petty, Springsteen and Dylan with touches of the southern melancholy and wit of Townes Van Zandt and Graham Parsons. After years of grueling touring which took them from basements to amphitheaters, the band as unit had run its course and disbanded. Layus, decided to keep the name and subsequently released another album and toured twice more as Augustana. Upon the completion of that campaign, Layus decided to act upon the urge he'd had since the first time he heard Johnny Cash’s “Live at San Quentin”. "I couldn’t stop listening to that album. It fascinated and scared the hell outta me. In theory Cash was there to entertain murderers, lifers and violent criminals but there was a very real sense that he was more one of them than he was part of "the establishment". That album is the sound of a prison riot about to happen…and all Johnny had to do was say the word and that place woulda gone up in flames. I was hooked and I needed to find out where this magical and dangerous music and men like Cash came from."
So in 2013, Layus packed up his young family and headed for Nashville, Tennessee. Upon his arrival in Music City, he found an immediate home in the songwriter community and quickly moved up the ranks, penning songs for platinum country artists and platinum pop artists alike. In this new endeavor he also found something even more valuable. The sound he had been searching for and scratching at since the inception of Augustana. As each of the bands albums moved closer to the country/roots-rock hybrid that Layus was aiming for none fully realized the sound he heard in his head—a sound that is both timeless and nostalgic, fresh and new, yet instantly familiar. Which brings us to Dangerous Things.
Eschewing the band name (though not permanently) Dangerous Things marks Dan Layus’s debut solo album. It would be easy to file Dangerous Things under any number of genres -- country, alt-country, americana—none of those descriptions would be far off. Upon repeated listens however, what emerges is an album that is all of those things and much more. It is a distinctly American album. It spans influences from Hank Williams to Tom Waits, from Dwight Yoakam to Woody Gutherie. Recorded in Nashville at SouthxSea Studios with minimal production, stirring lyrics about life's struggles and it’s simple joys, combined with stunning harmonies provided by Muscle Shoals own Secret Sisters, one thing is certain, Dangerous Things is the album that Dan Layus has been preparing his whole life to make, and it could not have come at a better time for the artist or the audience.