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Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013

Sam Llanas

Four/Five Live-Volume 1

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The live solo album by Sam Llanas, front man for The BoDeans, is about as low key an affair as can be. From almost distractingly plain packaging to the lack of mention of the venues where the album was recorded, it’s as if Llanas doesn’t want to draw undue attention. With the possible exception of his solo debut with Absinthe, Llanas’ work with the band that made him semi-famous and his previous solo long player, 4 A.M., are distinguished by an everyman quality bordering on indistinct.

Odd thing: Llanas is blessed with a distinct and pleasant tenor, which he has plied for nearly 30 years to music in step with collegiate alt rock and Americana. It may be to Llanas’ simultaneous credit and detriment that his songs (a number of which on this endeavor are BoDeans’ oldies) that speak so plainly of yearning and abandonment are so plainspoken as to draw listeners in and leave them nonplussed in possibly equal measure. Whether or not he’s aware of that effect, there’s probably no begrudging him for not wanting to change approaches this far into a successful career.