Produced by Sean McConnell at his rural farm retreat and home studio in Nolensville, Tennessee, The Actor not only ushers in a new arc in storytelling for Danaher, but also a new method in production.
“I stayed on the McConnell farm for two weeks with about 35 songs that I had ready for consideration,” Danaher reveals.
“When we started tracking, we decided that we still needed a few more elements to round everything out, so we ended up writing them on the first couple of days. After that it was off to the races.”
Between McConnell and Danaher, all instrumentation on the album was covered, save for the organ. The two friends and collaborators allowed the experience to flow, often pushing through long nights to finish tracking or simply taking a night off with Topo Chicos by a January bonfire to make gumbo and talk about life and the purpose in the record.
“It was a bit of a soul-searching experience, especially to have that many songs and still feel like there were parts of yourself that you hadn’t yet expressed,” Danaher says.
The album’s title track deals with rampant, yet rarely discussed issue in the artist community, the topic of imposter syndrome. The idea came to Danaher after a particularly impactful therapy session. After opening up to McConnell on the subject, the two couldn’t stop working until the song was completely tracked.
“Down Here” offers more of an up-tempo vibe, a mood Danaher admits he’s not known for, but tackles a subject of which he is—picking yourself back up after years of being down.
“It’s about realizing that a circumstance doesn’t define you. I many ways, that became a battle cry for me,” he says.
“Love Enough to Leave Somebody” also brings Danaher to steady, up-tempo territory, with a sobering twist on the heartbreak scenario as a confessional of leaving, not for lack of love, but because you aren’t ready to meet a great love in the moment.
Still, the album never loses its forward motion or persevering undertone. As the project closes with the poignant “If I’d Have Known Then,” an acceptance and even gratitude for life’s lowest moments is palpable—and so is the tiny gleaming moment of hope where love steps in and turns everything back around.
Overall, the album represents a slow-burning, humble awakening. If Danaher’s last record begged questions of fate’s unforgiving hand and life’s cruel plan, pain and heartbreak, his newest works sees him realizing that he might have held the answers within all along.