On Augustana’s 2011 self-titled fourth album, gone is the angst one might expect from younger bands, and in its place is an embraced solace and refined talent of a band progressing forward. They possess far more confidence and experience than they did on their debut album. Take a listen to the alt-country track “Hurricane” with its twangy guitars and singer Dan Layus’ signature lyrics that sound like penned verses spoken from gospel.
Like hell on high wire,
I’m caught in a wildfire,
Lights are blinding,
The river’s winding,
Heaven’s rain fell,
On fallen angels,
Never minding the silver lining,
Well you can only pray when you’re,
Waiting out the hurricane
“Hurricane” is a chilled, slow motion ballad that places a slight country drawl in the background to allow the fervent vocals to take center stage.
Down on third avenue,
The singer is singing the blues,
And I got nothing to lose,
I’m just comin back for you
I listened to the entire album, repeating “Hurricane” a handful of times as I often did back when the album was released six years ago. I was 28 back then and my way of thinking was vastly different than it is right now. But that’s the thing about this song – as long as you’re listening, really listening; something will click. It did for me anyway, and I found myself thrust right back to a time when everything was so uncertain, but I wasn’t afraid – because I didn’t know what I needed to be afraid of.
Yet, this morning as I walked outside something hit me. Something I haven’t felt in quite some time. No, it wasn’t a physical something. This hurt more. This sudden stab that pierced me was a feeling. It was the feeling of fleeting youth rooted firmly in a nostalgic present allowing me a shot of remembrance to a time when music was all I had – all I still have from that memory. Because the people, names, and places are gone, whisked away and stored as a shadowy memory that fades a little more every day. However, the song remains. And as I sit here trying my damnedest to recount what caused this unexpected shift in my subconscious – the smell in the air, the summer equinox, the morning light hitting the pavement in just the right way, spirits haunting me with certain musical notes – I am at a loss. I can’t tell you why this feeling encompassed me. I can’t. I want to, but for the first time in a while, I just can’t find the words.
The words, quite simply, are gone.
And because the words are gone, I’m scared that I’ve lost a part of myself – or outgrown it.
This, they say, is growing up.
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