Dark Light

by Andy Wagner

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about

Timeless music often chronicles these uncertain, messy moments between what was and what will be. Albums like Dylan's "Blood on the Tracks," Springsteen's “Nebraska,” and Wilco's "Yankee Foxtrot” all traverse the gray space between broken marriages, broken dreams, broken bands and their great thereafter.

Andy Wagner's "Dark Light" is just such an album, one rich with sounds and sentiment that signal that dusky patch of road between then and now. This is deeply atmospheric, empty-interstate stuff, replete with reflection, regret and loss that moves from midnight to dawn, sadness to elation, past to present with mid- tempo grace.

Like his broad and ambitious previous effort, “Silos & Smokestacks,” “Dark Light” is an album of highway ghosts and backstreet apparitions. Where “Silos” cruises the wide Midwestern expanses of Wagner's youth — factories and farms, rest stops and roadside attractions — “Dark Light” drifts across his midlife, interior topography.

Despite his early protestation, by the titular track, we begin to know our way around this memory-strewn landscape.

"There’s a side of me you’ll never get to see," Wagner whispers in "Someone, Somewhere." "I don’t even know if it’s real.”

A brushed snare and fairway organ reminiscent of Springsteen’s “Brilliant Disguise” yields to a lilting piano as he slips into refrain. "I know there’s someone out there who might be heading somewhere they never meant to be tonight.” That someone is Wagner. And you.

Wagner’s sonic palette straddles a wide crevasse: the deep resonance of his weather-worn acoustic guitar is buffeted by electronic drums and synthesized keyboards. It's equal parts Radiohead and Richard Thompson, all shimmering guitars, blips and beeps, and undulated keyboard washes grounded by the steady, organic sounds of metal and wood. He sings in a deep baritone so intimate, you can hear the feelings well up in his throat. You can hear his heart beat.

credits

released July 21, 2015

All songs written, performed and recorded by Andy Wagner at Lampblack Audio - Chicago, IL

Piano recorded by Dan Dietrich at Wall to Wall Studios - Chicago, IL

Cover photograph by Matthew Rivera

Mastered and lacquer cut by Carl Saff - Chicago, IL

All songs © Andy Wagner 2015

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Track Name: About You
ABOUT YOU

Tell me ‘bout your life
Would you ever let it go?
Would you ever let it go
if you had the chance?

It’s hard to walk away
From the things that people say
and the promises they make
shouldn’t ever break

You don’t know
anything about me
and the ways that I believe in you
I don’t want to be the one
with the bullet in the gun
when it’s time for me to learn
the truth about you

Next to me you lay
and I know you’ve seen me age
We both begin to fade
I know I’ve come too late

When you ask me who I am
I know you’re not my friend
but I know you’ll come again
when I’m finally straight

You don’t know
anything about me
and the ways that I believe in you
I don’t want to be the one
with the bullet in the gun
when it’s time for me to learn
the truth about you

So sleep forever please
but save a dream for me
take only what you need
and let the rest escape

Heaven is a place where
lonely hearts are saved
no one can be named
but I’ll see you there

You don’t know
anything about me
and the ways that I believe in you
I don’t want to be the one
with the bullet in the gun
when it’s time for me to learn
the truth about you
Track Name: You Don't Die
YOU DON’T DIE

After all these years
we’re finally standing here
I could never make it out
but now it’s all too clear

I was always wrong
you fooled me all along
and now you’re coming back to me
when I was almost gone

You don’t die do you?
No, you never will
Time keeps moving on
but you’re just standing still

I had my peace of mind
it wasn’t easy to find
I’m not some tape you pick up later
just to hit rewind

I’ve lived a hundred lives
there’s nothing I can’t survive
everything else has disappeared
but somehow you’re still alive

You don’t die do you?
No, you never will
Time keeps moving on
but you’re just standing still

I want to do what’s right
don’t want to put up a fight
you’re never really out of mind
just cause you’re out of sight

These things will come around
we can’t just take them down
you shouldn’t ever try to hide cause
there’s no escaping now

You don’t die do you?
No, you never will
Time keeps moving on
but you’re just standing still
Track Name: Unset The Sun
UNSET THE SUN

I took a walk downtown
I had a look around
No one ever saw me
no one even made a sound

Do all these hand held phones
save us from being alone?
I should have sent a picture
I should have called to say hello

I know now
we’re never going back
I need more time
but it doesn’t work like that

I remember the days
when everybody would say
we gotta make it faster
we gotta throw the old stuff away

Now everything’s brand new
what good does any of it do?
They said it’d bring us closer
but I feel so far away from you

I know now
we’re never going back
I need more time
but it doesn’t work like that

I don’t have much to give
but I’ll do what I can
cause I don’t need these things
to help me understand
that we’ve been drawn apart
we’re just drifters in the dark
better find each other before
the silence starts

Am I the only one
who hopes it comes undone?
I want to move backwards
I want to unset the sun

It’s been the greatest lie
but there’s no alibi
they’re gonna find us guilty
and we’ll never know the reason why

I know now
we’re never going back
I need more time
but it doesn’t work like that
Track Name: What I Tried To Say
WHAT I TRIED TO SAY

Hey hey, where ya been?
Haven’t seen you back again
Everyone was talking bout you
just the other day

I know you’ve been traveling some
last we talked you had to run
See, everything’s been different
since you went away

That’s what I tried to tell you
it’s what I tried to say
If only you could hear me
you’d never go away

There were times in our younger lives
when we’d look into each other’s eyes
and we’d say the things that never could be
said with words

I don’t know what ever changed
I wish we were still the same
I never thought I’d let you down
but I know things are different now

That’s what I tried to tell you
it’s what I tried to say
If only you could hear me
you’d never go away

It feels like only yesterday
when we never said goodbye
I still think about you every day
but I often wonder why

Was it ever really true?
Or did I only dream of you?
Cause now I can’t remember how it used to be
Maybe I’ve been holding to on
to what I want for way to long
but letting go is harder than
you’ll ever know

That’s what I tried to tell you
it’s what I tried to say
If only you could hear me
you’d never go away
Track Name: Someone, Somewhere
SOMEONE, SOMEWHERE

There’s a side of me
you’ll never get to see
I don’t even know if it’s real

People come and go
they all pretend to know
but no one talks about the way they feel

I know there’s someone out there
who might be heading somewhere
they never meant to be tonight

We should have seen it coming
must have been a sign or something
I hope there’s time to make it right

I can’t believe it’s true
what I just heard about you
It goes against the laws
of everything I knew

Maybe you could smile
and hide it all the while
but you would never lie
It isn’t what you do

I know there’s someone out there
who might be heading somewhere
they never meant to be tonight

We should have seen it coming
must have been a sign or something
I hope there’s time to make it right

All this make believe
is tearing us apart
we’re staring through the screens
at empty hearts

I can see more light
the farther out I go
but I’m losing sight of everyone I know

We’ll never be the same
it’s still a waiting game
I’m just holding on to what I thought was gone

Maybe there’s no end
it’s just like you once said
if we can’t feel it now than it was never wrong

I know there’s someone out there
who might be heading somewhere
they never meant to be tonight

We should have seen it coming
must have been a sign or something
I hope there’s time to make it right
Track Name: Exit Doors
EXIT DOORS

Separate my love
from everything I’ve said
from everything I’ve done

Take away my name
Who do you think I am?
What do you think I’ve become?

I can’t see through anything anymore
When did I go blind?
I went walking through the exit doors
ended up outside

I thought I knew myself
but now I’m not so sure
maybe I’m somebody else

Tell me one more time
whatever happened in the end
to all those dreams of mine?

I can’t see through anything anymore
When did I go blind?
I went walking through the exit doors
ended up outside

I never had a reason
I forgot what I believe in
the truth is my religion now

I can’t make a connection
to what I see in my reflection
tired of living in the shadow of doubt

The one thing I still know
I can hear your voice
no matter where I go

Underneath my skin
there’s still a beating heart
that wants to let you in

I can’t see through anything anymore
When did I go blind?
I went walking through the exit doors
ended up outside
Track Name: Living With My Past
LIVING WITH MY PAST

Do you ever think about the way things might have been
if you two never met
when you were young?

Would you still be happy ?
Or would you be alone?
Would anything have changed if you had known?

I’ve never been too good at living with my past
I have these days when I want to take it all back
It feels like I’m starting all over again
I’ve been here once and I can tell you how it ends
All of these people and these places,
they follow me

In the beginning,
I bet you felt so sure
That everything had fallen into place

It’s never easy
to make up your own way
Some call it fear some call it faith

I’ve never been too good at living with my past
I have these days when I want to take it all back
It feels like I’m starting all over again
I’ve been here once and I can tell you how it ends
All of these people and these places,
they follow me

Who in this world is watching over you?
How did they find you this way?
Could you go on just like you always do?
What would you try to save?

Wait until you’re ready
wait until it’s true
won’t be too much longer till it comes to you

Everyone can see it
we all know it’s there
maybe you don’t want it, maybe you don’t care

I’ve never been too good at living with my past
I have these days when I want to take it all back
It feels like I’m starting all over again
I’ve been here once and I can tell you how it ends
All of these people and these places,
they follow me
Track Name: Dark Light
DARK LIGHT

I’m talking to you
and you’re talking me
nothing but a mirror in between

I’m telling you now
I don’t want to let them down
it’s a side of me no one else can see

I’m looking you right in the eyes
and telling you nothing but lies
Something aint right
and you know I’ve been gone
for too long this time

Low in the light,
as it crawls from the night
where this lonely city sleeps

I’m awake and I see
an old side of me
and I wonder how I ever got away

I’m looking you right in the eyes
and telling you nothing but lies
Something aint right
and you know I’ve been gone
for too long this time

It might be true
the things they say about you
but no one knows you like the way I do
Just give me time
to try to fix this heart
To turn on every light that I left dark

It’s quiet here
in this empty room
I feel it wearing off soon

I don’t know where to go
with anyone I know
you can see it when I try to tell the truth

I’m looking you right in the eyes
and telling you nothing but lies
Something aint right
and you know I’ve been gone
for too long this time
Track Name: Inside Of Everyone
INSIDE OF EVERYONE

I’ve been making up my mind
and I’m trying to make it right
if I could I’d take us back
to the life we never had
and we’d get it right this time

But I’m talking to you now
and I’m trying to figure out
if there’s any of you left
hearing anything I’ve said
cause I’m feeling all this doubt

I won’t let it fall on you
if you tell me what to do
you should know that you can’t make it on your own
It’s like you’re barely hanging on
you don’t even know what’s wrong
all this time, you’ve been fading off from me
it’s not the way it needs to be

Inside of everyone,
there’s a war that can’t be won
so for now I think it’s best
to put all of this to rest
and don’t do what can’t be done

If it’s hard to let it go,
just remember who you know
and the times that they were there
running out of air,
or standing in the cold

I won’t let it fall on you
if you tell me what to do
you should know that you can’t make it on your own
It’s like you’re barely hanging on
you don’t even know what’s wrong
all this time, you’ve been fading off from me
it’s not the way it needs to be

I don’t know if there’s a secret in the air
but I know you and I are searching everywhere
for a place to settle down
cause we got far away
from our early days
and we got lost along the way

People talk about their lives
like there’s nothing there to hide
you can see it in their eyes
it’s really no surprise
it’s how we all survive

But yesterday is gone
so whatever there went wrong
is never coming back
it’s buried in the past
and now we’re moving on

I won’t let it fall on you
if you tell me what to do
you should know that you can’t make it on your own
It’s like you’re barely hanging on
you don’t even know what’s wrong
all this time, you’ve been fading off from me
it’s not the way it needs to be
Track Name: Criminals
CRIMINALS

Say something to get me out of here
and do the right thing
There’s nothing worth fighting for this year
I hope you find your diamond ring

They’re the criminals
and we’re the thieves
always lying through our teeth
Take it all back
and choose your enemies
but don’t be waiting round for me

I called you to try to make you laugh
but I couldn’t get to you today
I saw you in a color photograph
but now it’s turned to gray

They’re the criminals
and we’re the thieves
always lying through our teeth
Take it all back
and choose your enemies
but don’t be waiting round for me

As the seasons start to turn
and all the gold leaves slowly fall away
all the daylight might disappear
but I’ll still be right here
Yes, I’ll still be right here

Some oceans might pull their ships apart
as their winds blow heavy gales
If soft sorrow is sinking in your heart
drop your anchor, wrap your sails