Roots rock that wasn’t for the Beverly Hillbillies


I would say that The Bodeans are the best band you’ve never heard of but you’ve probably heard the song, “Closer To Free” because it was a TV show theme song for “Party Of Five.”

I never watched that show but I had loved the band for years before it ever made them #AlmostFamous.

That notoriety came later in their career – and it was always weird when the nouveau crowd would always go nuts for it at a live show – but “Home” is the third album in their catalog, back when they were considered a Rolling Stone magazine up-and-comer. The Bodeans were the heartland rock band that had Everly Brothers vocal blends with good power pop and rock song sensibilities.

Kurt Neumann and Sammy Llanas made some beautiful music together despite an infamously unstable lineup of album and touring musicians over two decades. Eventually, they had the nastiest split you can imagine. Google that one at your own risk…

The history of this band and their choppy relationship with each other and various members of the band can’t muddy up the beauty of their incredible body of music.

I discovered them upon the release of this album and, quite simply, they became my favorite band.

I will always love the music of The Bodeans – a soundtrack to a really formative part of my life and journey.

I fell in love with their first two albums but “Home” was a more mature version of their sound. And despite some overproduction, “Black And White” captures their songwriting and the early influence of T-Bone Burnett and Jerry Harrison and then David Z in harnassing a powerful musical blend.

I have watched and shared the home work of Kurt Neumann during the COVID quarantine and the good things on my #MusicalNes journey come flooding back.

I saw the Bodeans all over the country in all sorts of weird little bars, clubs, theaters – and the first time I saw them was at the Hampton Coliseum opening for U2 on “The Joshua Tree” tour.

Go find a really great version of “You Don’t Get Much” and you’ll see why Chicago and Milwaukee people will tell you that The Bodeans were the greatest band you never saw.

And anyone who ever went on a date with me or hung out with me for the next 15 years after hearing this album in 1989 was subjected to the souls of Sammy and Kurt.

They wrote great songs!

Grab a beer and turn up a song called “Good Work.” You’ll start tapping your toes…