For more than a decade, Dan Layus toured America as the front man for SoCal roots rock outfit Augustana.
With Augustana, Layus released five records and an EP, lighting up charts with the buzzworthy hit “Boston” and hitting the road with the likes of Dashboard Confessional, Counting Crows, and The Fray.
Layus shed his roots rock skin upon moving to Nashville in 2013. Long interested in traditional country sounds, those inspirations blossomed after Layus arrived in the cradle of country music. Dangerous Things, which released last week and features guest vocals by The Secret Sisters, is Layus’s first solo record after retiring the band name Augustana and recording/touring under his own. Dangerous Things proves positively that the sound works for Layus.
I recently caught up with Dan Layus to chat about the new record, the move to Nashville, and the one thing that could have derailed it all.
BRO – I know you are proud of your work with Augustana, but it has to be pretty awesome to see “Dan Layus” printed across the cover of this new record.
DL – I absolutely feel very excited about seeing where this journey has taken myself and family over the years. This record feels very special to me and those around me for a multitude of reasons, and I am so happy with where I am right now.
BRO – How did moving to Nashville affect you as a songwriter?
DL – Nashville had a profound and immediate effect on my writing. The scene change from Los Angeles alone was enough to promote some new energy within me, but on top of that, the music community and the very musical nature of this is town is impossible to ignore. Tennessee as a state, and Nashville as a city, have a deep and palpable respect and love for music and musicians. When you get here, it gets into you. It’s a hard thing to explain but so easy to feel.
BRO – We are featuring “Driveway,” a sadly beautiful song, on this month’s Trail Mix. Best advice on how to get out of, or avoid altogether, the driveway?
DL – I really can’t provide any advice on that. I am very confident that nobody ever truly arrives in total in a relationship. In my experience, true love and deep relationships with true consequences seem to be an evolution or a dance that is in constant motion. I think everyone, including myself, is just trying their best to hold onto who they love as long as they get to love them. The right answers in this area seem to be elusive and/or subjective.
BRO – You’ve been on tour with Dixie Chicks over in Europe. Best meal you had over there?
DL – I was so fortunate to be invited to support that tour. I learned so much from watching their shows in Europe. My favorite restaurant was a find in Dublin, a place called Monty’s of Kathmandu. It’s a Nepalese restaurant and it’s absolutely wonderful.
BRO – Considering your evolution from Augustana to solo performer, what was the most dangerous thing, that one thing, that could have hampered the whole journey?
DL – Oh, continuing to drink alcohol the way I used to drink was ruining me and I most certainly would have thrown myself down the hole for good. I’m very proud of myself for pulling my heart and mind and body out of that place and getting back on my feet and finding myself sober by 26 with a whole lot of love and life ahead of me.
Dan Layus will be celebrating the release of Dangerous Things with shows in Texas, Alabama, and Florida over the next week. For more information on Dan, when he will be on stage near you, or how you can get your hands on Dangerous Things, please check out his website.
Also, be sure to take a listen to “Driveway” on this month’s Trail Mix.