Winter Storm Niko dumped about a half-foot of snow on New York City late last week. It was the first major snowfall of the season—so serious, in fact, that Mayor Bill de Blasio cancelled classes for all public schools and halted other civic services.
Once the blizzard slowed, however, Brooklyn’s streets filled with a hushed calm. Salted ice patches deterred most auto traffic, so the only the sound traveling through the empty streets came from the elevated J and M trains—less like their usual roar and more like a gaping yawn.
Niko undoubtedly affected many plans last Thursday night, and the inside of Music Hall Williamsburg felt as quiet as N. 6th Street outside. But those fans who braved the weather to support former Augustana frontman Dan Layus were among the now-Nashville-based singer’s most dedicated supporters. Flanked by fiddler Kristin Weber and multi-instrumentalist Jay Barclay, Layus filled the hall with earnest tunes to warm the soul. And much to his humble delight, the small crowd sang along to every song off his debut solo album, last year’s Dangerous Things.
In particular, these songs off Dangerous Things seemed to give meaning and hope to the Brooklynites in attendance. Layus’ solo work moves away from the piano pop of Augustana’s early work, instead channeling the acoustic picking and soaring pedal steel of classic country ballads. The ache of “Driveway” and the nostalgia of “Call Me When you Get There” translated even more keenly live, as Weber and Barclay excel in their minimalism.
Winter can be the cruelest, loneliest of months, but Layus closed his winter run in Brooklyn by celebrating strength in community. We were able to catch a glimpse of Layus’ soundcheck, performance and post-show meet-and-greet. Check it out in the gallery above.