From the Archives: Untold Stories Series – BoDeans return to Indy, minus a founding member

NOTE: For whatever reason, there are columns/stories I write that never get published on the Rockforward blog.  Why is that?  I have no good explanation.  I mean, it’s my blog.  All I have to do is write it, spell-check it and hit publish.  Weird, don’t you think?  In the face of such insanity, I have created a series called Stories Untold: The Mysteriously Unused Works of Rob Nichols  (I am nothing if not a little bombastic when it comes to series titles).  So enjoy the first in the series.  It’s one written last fall, preceding the first Indy appearance by the BoDeans since Sammy Llanas had abruptly left the band.  We came to find out it was a long-simmering breakdown between Kurt Neumann and Sammy. (Read Kurt’s terrific Q&A with the Pollstar website or Chicago Tribune’s interview for  Sammy’s version)  The band soldiers on, embracing the name and the history, and released an album (American Made) this year – the first minus one of the two distinct voices of the band’s 25 years together. Take a listen here.

And if the story below feels a little dated,  it is. But it’s now part of a series, man.

(originally written October, 2012)
When the BoDeans make an appearance at the Vogue on October 6, it will be the first time that the band will play an Indianapolis show without founding member Sam Llanas. The singer – one of band’s two singers, along with Kurt Neumann – is no longer part of the group.

Llanas, a high school friend of Neumann’s, didn’t show up for a BoDeans show in Winter Park, CO, and officially left the group five days later.

According to their Wikipedia entry, the split was due to “differences of opinion” that had been “going on for years”, said Neumann.

Nuemann will continue under the BoDeans moniker, and has added Jake Owen to take the spot of Llanas. Their website ( has new pictures of the band – minus Llanas – and have five shows scheduled through November 4.

According to the web, the group is working on a new studio album for 2012. Llanas has a new solo album titled 4 A.M., which came shortly after the latest BoDeans album, Indigo Dreams, was released this summer.

So what do we make of the split? As I wrote in Nuvo in July, 2010, “I can’t remember walking away (from a show) thinking that the band hadn’t worked hard at making a connection. The sound they make is unique.”

At the time, I wrote that the new album, Mr. Sad Clown, was thoroughly BoDeans, and the unique blending of two voices the reason they survive.

REVIEW – Mr. Sad Clown – Rob Nichols – July, 2010

Without the Everly’s like harmonies, it is difficult to imagine the band not changing it’s sound; the BoDeans morph into the Kurt Neumann Band. And I am good with that.

But the BoDeans in my head is Sammy and Kurt, teaming up to harmonize through “(She’s a) Runaway” and “Don’t Pass Me By” and “Good Things”.

That will be gone.

We will get a chance to see an early version of the new lineup, with the Indy show the first of the aforementioned five shows. The band has used Indianapolis as one of their regular stops over the past 20 years and the local fan base seems loyal and always appears by showtime to fill up the Vogue.

It is BoDeans name on the marquee.  In Indy, there is value in that brand.  It will be up to the remaining membesr, especially the remaining, likeable frontman Neumann, to make the new lineup work.

The show will surely contain the rock and rolling deep catalog of familiar, midwest-flavored BoDeans songs, and it will probably be a little bittersweet for fans

But carry on, my man.  Carry on Kurt.  Because we still need American rock and roll.  It will be different, and it will be the same.  Played with some heartland passion and with a band that is a little sweaty and confident, it will work.

Check back in a year.  My guess is you will still be on the road, and just maybe, happier than ever.

(editor’s note: The band has continued to tour, and came back around to Indy for a show in June, 2012  -still rocking and still singing BoDeans songs.  And that’s a good thing.)

Roots/Rock Notes: BoDeans, Otis Gibbs, Will Hoge

First, let’s share a quick photo:Indiana’s Otis Gibbs was at the Grand Ole Opry, and snuck backstage while Ricky Skaggs and Deirks Bentley were on stage to snap a stealth photo.

Some new music news from two longtime bands that Indianapolis roots-rock fans have supported as well as any city has:

Will Hoge’s new single “When I Get My Wings” was unveiled this week, from his upcoming record Number Seven. That album will be available on September 27th. The single, a soulful, Stax-rific piece of Hoge soul, hit radio August 1st.

Will Hoge – “When I Get My Wings” by Rykodisc

“The song was inspired by a story I read in the Tennessean obituaries about a lady who had passed away and left her husband behind,” Hoge told American Songwriter. “They were married for like 60 years or something. I just started thinking about what the husband must have gone through, trying to make sense of living life without her.”

“The original version was a bluegrass song that came together in probably an hour or so,” remembers Hoge. “The story and lyrics remained the same, but the final version was re-written and re-recorded the final day of tracking. So, in some ways I guess it took an hour to start and a year to finish.”

The BoDeans (Sam Llanas and Kurt Neumann) co-wrote all 13 songs on their new release Indigo Dreams. Michael Ramos (keyboards), Bukka Allen (accordion), Kenny Aronoff and Noah Levy (drums) also play on the record. Similar in style to their three most recent studio albums, Resolution, Still and Mr. Sad Clown.

BoDeans – “Blowin’ My Mind” (from KINK Radio in Portland, OR)

Todd Snider doesn’t meet Dylan, BoDeans change, and Wilber interviews Pete Best

→ Singer/songwriter and Indianapolis favorite Todd Snider recently wrote a piece about what he would say to Bob Dylan if he met him. Hilarious (and heartfelt) stream of thought. Thought you might like to read… Snider is next scheduled to be in Indiana on September, 17, at the Ferdinand Folk Festival, near Jasper. Continue reading “Todd Snider doesn’t meet Dylan, BoDeans change, and Wilber interviews Pete Best”

Indiana Album Review: Scott Kellogg – “Silver In Their Veins”

On his debut album “Silver In Their Veins”, Bloomington singer/songwriter Scott Kellogg works with producer Paul Mahern to conjure the spookiness of a T Bone Burnett album, his singing recalling Robbie Robertson’s post-Band work, the music a nod to U2’s non-hit Joshua Tree songs, and enough Another Brick-era Pink Floyd to add glistening atmosphere to the project. It’s a crisp-yet-warm sounding album, with lyrics non-specific enough to let you tell the story your way.

Kellogg, a singer/songwriter outside the boundries of folk, opts to bypass making an acoustic guitar-based record. Instead, he and Mahern zero in on layers of sound, close-miked vocals and never straying from melody over experimentation. Continue reading “Indiana Album Review: Scott Kellogg – “Silver In Their Veins””

Roots Rock News: Todd Snider in NY Times, Bruce doc in September, Truth & Salvage Co. video

A piece in the New York Times captures the essence of Todd Snider. I remember in 1996, seeing Todd and the Nervous Wrecks perform a sweaty blowout of a show at the Patio, and later that year, at the Vogue, and thinking then that he was pretty damn special. And I figured the road ahead to any mainstream success would be a long one. Truimphantly, he has persevered to create a solid spot for himself in the pantheon of Americana singer/songwriters. Viva Todd.
Read article here

Hear the BoDeans as they played both new and old music at Studio 92, in advance last week’s show at the Vogue. Brad Holtz chatted with them about returning to Indy, their new album, and writing “Good Things” in Bloomington. They played a set featuring “Idaho,” “Stay,” “Shine,” and “Good Things”.
Hear it on WTTS website

Americana songman Jethro Easyfields has two shows scheduled in Indianapolis on his birthday this Saturday. First, he is at Spencer’s Stadium Tavern from 7:00-11:00pm before hustling north for a rockin’ midnight set at Locals Only with his band The Arrowheads.

Wanna hit a show just south of Indy? Jennie DeVoe plays on the lawn at Mallow Run Winery in Bargersville Saturday night at 7:00pm. Tickets are $15 and available at the winery. Kids 12 & under are free. It s a blankets-and-lawn chair gig.

Truth & Salvage Co., who showed why they are a band to remember when they came to Birdy’s back in May, is taping Jimmy Kimmel Live on August 16. They have a Gap-related video from Bonnaroo that is pretty sweet. Click here to watch

And as has been speculated for more than a year, official word now arrives that confims Bruce Springsteen is working on completing a new package related to ‘Darkness on the Edge of Town,‘ and it will include the new Thom Zimny film “The Promise: The Making of Darkness On The Edge Of Town.”

The documentary will premiere at the 35th Toronto International Film Festival on September 14, according to Shorefire Media, Bruce’s PR people. The film reportedly has a ton of footage from the 1970s and has been rumored to have been in the works for a couple of years, as has a box set or re-release of the Darkness album tracks, plus some unreleased music from the sessions.