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    BoDeans

    BoDeans Biography

    The best singing and songwriting partnerships involve a respectful give and take—whether it’s in the trading of lyrical or melodic ideas, an exchange of guitar riffs or the blending of vocal harmonies. Sam Llanas and Kurt Neumann initiated such a partnership more 20 years ago. As frontmen for the BoDeans, one of the premier American roots-rock bands, they forged a signature sound based on heartfelt lyrics, passionate harmonies and ringing guitars. That sound first surfaced on the group’s critically acclaimed, T-Bone Burnett-produced 1986 debut, Love & Hope & Sex & Dreams. And while the BoDeans have not issued an album since 1996’s Blend, the band is now back with Resolution, an inspired collection of classically simple songs that prove that Llanas and Neumann have lost none of their musical edge.

    Produced at Neumann’s Slamshack studio near Austin, Texas, the album opens with the chiming “If It Makes You,” one of several stirring, anthemic numbers. Like the bouncy “(We Can) Live” and the feel-good rocker “Wild World,” the track instantly imbues the album with a feeling of euphoria and unbridled optimism. Other songs, like the romantic flashback “Marianne,” the Springsteen-style “617” and the dreamy ballad “Slipping into You,” are bittersweet, reflective story-songs that take the listener from a record store and a 6th-floor walkup apartment to the sultry streets of New Orleans. Interestingly, the three anthemic cuts are written and sung primarily by Neumann, while the album’s more cinematic numbers come largely from Llanas. But, as always, each had input into the others’ songs. “Sam and I are total opposites,” explains Neumann. “He tends to write real good little stories, where I favor more inspirational stuff. But we’ve always helped refine the lyrics, melodies and structures of each other’s material.”

    For instance, Neumann had written “(We Can) Live” but it somehow didn’t click with either Llanas or original BoDean bassist Bob Griffin. It wasn’t until Llanas took the song and recast it in a way that suited his big strumming style on acoustic guitar that it became a BoDeans song. Similarly, Llanas wrote “Nobody Loves Me” as a slow country ballad, a “mellow, late-night song,” which suited him fine as solo number but lacked dynamics in a group setting. “It didn’t spark any real passion in us,” recalls Neumann. “I told Sam, ‘I’m just not feeling it,’ which he accepted. So I went into my studio one day and completely re-recorded all the music. Suddenly, it became this whole different thing that everyone was excited about.”

    A big part of the BoDeans’ sound is the harmony created by Llanas’ and Neumann’s vocals. It’s a sweet-and-sour blend that has colored BoDean songs dating back to such popular early numbers as “She’s a Runaway,” “Fadeaway” and “Still the Night,” or “Only Love,” from the band’s second album, Outside Looking In, produced by Talking Head Jerry Harrison. According to Llanas, it’s a sound that he and Neumann first discovered in high school, growing up in Waukesha, Wisconsin, and it remains as strong as ever on Resolution. “Although our voices are very different,” says Llanas. “they really complement each other. Kurt’s got more of a smooth, lower tone and can do that bottom thing, where I’ve got more of a high, raspy, gravelly thing that I can lay right on top. When we put the two together, we get a nice, rich spectrum of tones.”

    Recognizing their unique partnership helped to define the new album. “It’s a happy record,” admits Neumann, who points to another positive aspect of the album. “Getting signed to Rounder Records is a great part of the BoDeans story, because Rounder was the first label to ever make us a record offer. It’s nice to be able to sign with the indie roots label that first showed interest in us. As a classic American rock band, with our roots firmly in the Midwest, it’s a really appropriate place for us to be.”

    BoDeans Bio from Discogs

    Alt rock band from Waukesha, Wisconsin. Featuring Kurt Neumann and Sam Llanas, frequently credited as Beau and Sammy BoDean.

    Formed in 1983 the band signed a contract with Slash Records and recorded their critically acclaimed debut album, Love & Hope & Sex & Dreams in 1985.


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