The Dangers, “Why We Long To Stay”
“But the truth remains/How those bluebirds sing/They talk about everything/ And this is why I long to stay”
The evolution of The Dangers continues. Why We Long to Stay, an album on the heels of All Rivers Collide, Land of Opportunity and Dreamtime, gives us a clear picture of a band that knows where it has been and where it is heading. The Dangers stretch themselves out towards an even greater musical maturity and sense of confidence. And those are great things to hear coming from an already great band.
Chris LeRoy, the band’s lead singer and writer of songs, is at the heart of the five member group. His singing conveys the complexity found in The Dangers’ music – wistful, searching, sad, joyful, boisterous, questioning, and more. He is an actor saying his lines in meter and notes, giving us the context of each song. His guitar playing can be rhythmically driving or poignantly spare. It all depends on what the song requires.
The album is filled with nuanced love songs – losing love, hoping to save a love, running from love, the whole gamut of love’s problems and desires. The first song is “Motor On”, a Country Rock tune wherein a musician declares to a leaving lover, “Ever since you told me you’re long gone from here/That won’t make my feelings disappear… Here in all the craziness a love will never end”. However, the song’s attitude is defiant in the face of such a loss. “Sad Emotion” talks about choices, not fatalism. “We’re staying lonely/Impossible to give us what we really want/And break our hearts to pieces/Or we can try to turn around, turn around”. A shred of hope remains.
The beautiful title track, reminiscent of Jackson Browne’s classic L.A. sound, is hazier than the previous tunes. Things are bad but “Got the feeling we’ll love somehow/If we hang on the chain”, and the weary lover longs to stay. Two R&B influenced tracks, sort of the Philly Sound meets Inland Empire rock, continue the theme of love’s complications. “Every Day is Borrowed Time” laments the confusing needs of lovers – “Every single lie/Every single sad goodbye/ We’re hard to satisfy/Seeing our chance go by”, and even trying does not seem to solve them. “Here Before” wistfully states that the troubled couple has been through such hard times before and not learned a thing.
Two love songs stand above the others, “Valentine” and “Remain”, the pair that close out the album. Both are examples of a major motif in The Dangers’ canon – the desire that something good can work out in this flawed, imperfect life. “Valentine” is a delicate pop ballad of yearning, a prayer for an enduring love to survive – “Valentine, my valentine/You can pour your dreams in mine/Close your eyes until you see us shine/One more time”. “Remain” is a romantic anthem where one can hear the influence of U2, another band obsessed with longing. As it soars out into the ether, we hear “Hole in the sky/Blink of an eye/We can remain/Star through the trees/Gone with the breeze/We can remain”.
More than love is touched upon in “Why We Long to Stay”. “Fifteen Strong (Campout Song)” is a rollicking tune detailing the uplifting experience of performing at the band Cracker’s annual musical get-together where a fun time is had by all. And “Angels” is a lively work referencing the great German film ‘Wings of Desire”, wherein celestial beings stand close by to every human, listening in to their deepest thoughts and emotions.
All in all this is an excellent album that stands with the very best in The Dangers’ body of work. Artistry is an overused word in rock/pop music, but in this case it is fitting. The evolution of The Dangers continues. And that is why we long to stay and hear what they have coming up next.
“I know how LUCKY I am that every year we get a new record from The Dangers. I can’t say enough how much I love WHY WE LONG TO STAY.
“Too many great songs to pick a favorite, but I absolutely love SAD EMOTION, EVERY DAY IS BORROWED TIME, A GOOD DAY, HERE BEFORE…well okay, I just love the album! It's all good when I can add new Dangers songs to my world. I’m forever thankful Chris LeRoy.”
Treat yourself and take a listen. #dangersforever #NowPlaying
Rebecca Page Torres
The Dangers, “Land Of Opportunity”
“Hmmm...where do I start? Well....The album starts off with some grit in "The Opportunity." The beautiful duet in “Satisfied” is a great change of pace. The bluesy "Grenade" (and its jam session partner at the end) are awesome throwbacks to the 50's and 60's. "Last Three Songs" is a sweet song . . . . like an early morning cup of coffee on a cold weekend morning.
Eclectic, maybe...but I love it!”
Matthew V Pollack
The Dangers, "Dreamtime”
by Julie Bradlow
Ah, mid-August, when many dependable things happen: the Perseids meteor showers, heat and humidity almost everywhere in the lower 48, and a new Dangers album! In this case, Dreamtime, the Dangers’ tenth studio album, issued in the band’s fortieth year, comes out on August 17. Produced by Dangers frontman Chris LeRoy and engineered by Maria Baglien, Dreamtime is deceptively jaunty and poppy, with nods to classic rock influences like The Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel and Bob Dylan. Careful attention to the lyrics, however, makes the listener realize that the album is not so much about being in a dreamlike state as about discerning fantasy from reality.
The track most illustrative of this tension is “Fat of the Land,” which opens as follows: “Sitting in an open field/Clouds rolling over the sun/Paper says it’s no big deal/Plenty nuff for everyone.” Then, the tempo increases, the guitar strums more insistently, and the song continues: “But I don’t think I’m dreaming/We’re going down from where I stand/People getting hungry/Gazing on the fat of the land.” Three of the album’s other songs explore dreaming: The title track “Dreamtime,” envisions dreams as a safe place: “Dreamtime, dreamtime/Please close our eyes/City lights of fireflies/Will keep us safe tonight.” The track that precedes it, “Motor,” speaks of dreams in the aspirational sense: “Might have simple plans/Might have simple dreams/Won’t meet your demands/That’s clear enough to see/Out here in the country/We know what we need/Love and conscience, peace and dignity.” The song “Dreaming” portrays dreams as a cause for optimism: “You say you hear the breaking of a thousand hearts/Well I can hear a thousand beating on their mark/Am I dreaming?/Yes I’m dreaming/And that’s a start.”
Another theme of Dreamtime is indecision. Its first track, “Last Train,” first appeared on LeRoy’s Death of Me album Life’s So Hard, Make it Softer. It begins plaintively: “Sitting on a train track trying to decide/Should I lie back for the rest of the ride?/Cash my ticket to the other side/Why?” The Johnny A Hickman/Chris LeRoy anthem “Another Road,” which first appeared on Hickman’s solo record Tilting, also pulses with uncertainty: “Want to get away/I understand it/But I don’t want to say it/And I don’t want to stay/This is a fine way home/Seems like a lifetime/Over and over again.”
The album concludes – almost -- on an reassuring note with “Treasure:” “In your mind/you’re waiting for connection/But you can’t see/no mansion on a hill/Be careful/That you never lose direction/There will always be/A candle on the sill.” Then, up pops the hidden track, “Kevin’s Fries,” an obvious nod to the Beatles squib “Her Majesty,” that closes Abbey Road.
While the Dangers’ lineup has changed over the years, LeRoy, drummer Brad Vaughn (whose fills are, happily, high in the sound mix), guitarist Mike Geoghegan, and keyboardist Ralph Torres have been constants for a while, and are joined this time by bassist Matt Wyckoff. Guest vocalist Ray Zeigler appears on several tracks, as does percussionist Aidan Vaughn. Harmonica player Bill Barrett, guitarist Brad Lewis, and bassist Roy Durnal make “Fat of the Land” and “Treasure,” which also includes a guitar solo from Wyckoff, standout tracks. The download is available now, and CDs are available in a couple of weeks. However you like to listen, don’t sleep on whether to pick up a copy of Dreamtime!