BoDeans: “All The World”
Formed in Waukesha, Wisconsin, BoDeans have come a long way from their Midwestern roots. They’ve been together almost thirty years, weathering lineup changes, the ups-and-downs of popularity, and ten albums. Their eleventh, American Made, is due out June 12th, and at this point in their career, BoDeans know what they’re doing.
In 1983, Kurt Neumann and Sam Llanas–longtime high school friends–formed the core of BoDeans, taking their name from an amalgamation of Bo Diddley and James Dean. Their early music reflected these tough, early rock and roll representations, but it was shot through with the kind of folk and country the two grew up with Waukesha. T-Bone Burnett produced their 1986 debut, Love & Hope & Sex & Dreams, and the strength of that album led to an opening slot for U2 on their Joshua Tree tour. The alternative rock movement of the early ’90s threatened to obliterate everything in its path, yet BoDeans held on and scored an unlikely hit when their 1993 song “Closer To Free” rocketed up the charts and became the theme song to Party Of Five.
The group has made a few changes over the years: Llanas has moved on, and BoDeans now call Austin home, but that Midwestern sensibility still shines through on American Made. The record is certainly of its time–lyrics touch on the current crossroads that American faces–but the members–including longtime Austinite and former Austin Ace Michael Ramos–still know how to make it sound timeless. Songs like “All The World” show those same touches of country and folk the group has become known for, but there’s something of a laid-back vibe. After nearly three decades in the business, BoDeans have obtained the kind of workmanlike precision that they sing about in their blue-collar songs.