By Diane Y. Welch
While music entertains, for singer/songwriter Danny Langdon, it may also be cathartic. His songs come from his soul and speak of life's challenges, he said. And through sharing them with the listener, Langdon strives to make a connection, to help others faced with similar challenges find solace.
Langdon, a Carmel Valley resident, has recently released a CD album of his songs. Titled “Hard Lessons,” the work covers topics such as peer pressure, divorce, abuse and death. But his melodies lift the spirit and send a positive note of redemption.
“They bring you to a place of triumph through surrender,” he said.
Songs such as “Save Me,” “Found a Love,” and a cover version of The Edgar Winter Group's “Free Ride” offer people a positive alternative to the “alternative” music they are usually influenced by, he said.
For Langdon, writing songs is as simple as following the melodies in his head.
“I just pick up a guitar, touch the strings, and the music gives my thoughts a place to belong. Every song on this CD is some sort of situation that I have experienced, or one that a family member or close friend has gone through. So these are first-hand interpretations,” he said.
The song “Just a dream” is inspired by Langdon's personal family history. Growing up with seven brothers Langdon experienced the murder of one of them 14 years ago.
“I tried to write that song from my parents' point of view, and to see what it would feel like to have one of your sons murdered,” he said. It was an event that changed his life perspective.
Bitten by the music bug at the age of 15, Langdon, then a bassist, played during the 1980s in New York with the band The Prowlers.
“At the age of 16 we were performing in bars. We each had our working papers, and had a parent chaperone, and every weekend for several years, we were out playing rockabilly and dance music.”
Langdon learned acoustic guitar and began writing his own material as an adult and was signed with an independent label in New York, Sovereignty International, to produce the first version of “Hard Lessons.” When the company folded Langdon became the producer, too. “I decided no one could promote this as passionately as I could,” he said.
His current manager, Dory Goldman, shares this passion.
“She believes that I have a talent that needs to be recognized, so she has been right there with me, pushing this forward,” said Langdon.
Through Goldman, Langdon has received air time on radio and TV here in San Diego and back in New York. Locally, he has played with Michael Tiernan, at Del Mar's En Fuego, and performs with the Brokers Band at The Kraken in Cardiff-by- the-Sea, and other venues. He is a regular performer at the House of Blues and will be at Lestat's Coffee House on Feb. 17.
Touring and promotion of his album includes monthly trips to New York where Langdon has deep roots. He has an 8-year-old son there and for 20 years worked as director of facilities for an elementary school district.
“I loved the job, but it wasn't my passion. So I decided to leave, move to California and pursue music full-time.”
This leap of faith into professional musician has involved some sacrifice and will take persistence and hard work, Langdon recognizes. But his passion is fueling his determination, and plans in the future include touring nationally, filming a music video, and a follow-up CD. Critics, who have written favorably about Langdon's talent and his debut album, compare him to Bryan Adams and John Mellencamp.
John Blenn of Long Island Entertainment wrote, “He hasn’t got a trophy case with awards he’s brought home from music contests. [But] let me be the first to tell you, Danny Langdon is an absolute gem.”
“Hard Lessons” is available online through Langdon's website
and cdbaby. Visit the website for Danny Langdon's show schedule.