Free & Alive Records 2017
Review by David Bowling
Kurt Neumann and Sam Llanas met in 1980 and the BoDeans were born in 1983. There debut album, Love & Hope & Sex & Lies brought them commercial success and established them as a cutting edge band. Llanas left in 2011 but Neumann continues to front the band and shortly will release the their 13th album, appropriately titled Thirteen.
The BoDeans have always fused Roots rock and alternative rock into their music. Thirteen tends to be more in the roots category as Neumann has created a series of thoughtful and melodic songs. He and the band recently became involved with the Netflix series The Ranch, and the style of the album keys off the laid back nature of the series. “My Hometown” and several other tracks appeared on the show and form the foundation of the album.
Songs such as “Maggie’s Bar,” “Headed Back In Time,” “Nowhere Fast,” and “Way Back In Time” have a wistful appeal as they tell stories of the American heartland.
Thirteen is a fine addition to the BoDeans catalogue of music. It proves that the band is alive and well during the fourth decade of their existence.