Sam Llanas and his faithful Taylor guitar will be bringing his quality style of balladeering to Linneman's in Milwaukee February 9th.

Sam Llanas and his faithful Taylor guitar will be bringing his quality style of balladeering to Linneman’s in Milwaukee February 9th.

Not often in music today are there artists who have not only a natural gift for presenting music, but present it with honest, pure emotion.  If you think what you see in today’s popular artists is raw emotion, I hate to be the one to break this to you, but you have been mislead.  Artists like Lady Gaga, Katie Perry, One Direction, Justin Beiber, and the all-time prat Taylor Swift (no, that’s not a misspelling, it is an English term, look it up, it fits) put on a good show, but they’re emotions are fraudulent at best.  For example, Taylor Swift is 23 years old (or 24, or 22, who cares what the exact number is), she wouldn’t know TRUE heartbreak if it bit her on the bum.

You wanna hear a piece about actual heart destruction?  Then give Gary Tanin’s Love Changes a listen.

Like Tanin’s real emotional album, Sam Llanas is no stranger to putting true feeling into song.  I was lucky enough to get a close-up view of Mr. Llanas in action last September at the Rockwood Music Hall in New York City.  This was my first exposure to Llanas live.  In no uncertain terms, I was blown away.

Llans keeps his chord structures simple, but what he does with those chord structures is nothing less than brilliant.  To squeeze such emotions out of a few open chords equals genius.  I usually review progressive acts.  Music comprised of augmented/diminished chords, alternate bass notes not supporting the root chords, odd time signatures, completed with verbose, madrigal lyrical composition.  It is refreshing to hear stripped down structures supporting words one doesn’t need either a Queen’s English dictionary or a thesaurus to understand.

It makes my job much easier as well.

What makes Llanas so great?  OK, so he uses simple structures and working class lyrics.  If that isn’t enough for you, read on and we will gladly explore more…

First, in our examination of Llanas and his talent, we have to look at where he broke, as it were.  He was a co-founding member of the band BoDeans.  Since being exposed to Llanas through his amazing solo breakthrough 4A.M. and his collaborative solo effort with Gary Tanin, the Absinthe disc A Good Day To Die, not to mention his work with Doug Vincent on the play A Day For Grace, I have begun to investigate BoDeans.  Mr. Vincent states he is a long-time BoDeans fan.  So on his advisory, and the advice of Llanas himself, I will start my collection with the live double CD Joe Dirt Car.  Lanas states he feels that was the pinnacle of the live career of the band.  I have not yet purchased this, but I have done some online previewing.  While I have enjoyed the tracks I have heard, I have to state that in comparison, the BoDeans held Llanas back.  His contributions seemed constantly overshadowed by that of co-founder Kurt Neumann.  As a solo artist, or as a primary contributor, Llanas shines on the Absinthe project and 4A.M.  So while I would recommend highly on BoDeans products that include Llanas, I would emphasize A Good Day To Die and 4A.M.

I have been lucky to see Llanas live in a solo performance, and even luckier to see Llanas perform live in the play A Day For Grace.  One amazing aspect of seeing him perform side by side with Doug Vincent was the fact that Llanas’ guitar was amplified for reinforcement, but Llanas’ vocals were not.

Let’s talk about Llanas’ live vocals.  When you watch Llanas sing his songs live, it is as if he is transported right into the shoes of the protagonist.  He is living the experience of the lyrics of each and every song right before your eyes.  But alongside the emotion, Llanas’ lyrics have another bonus when he performs them live, in one word: POWER!

In reference to the second to last paragraph, when Llanas performed at Stage Left Studios, an intimate stage venue for theater, you could hear each and every word Llanas sang perfectly.  No mics, amplification of effects, much less pitch correction.

That IS a dig at the popular artists listed at the beginning of this post, as they most likely spend a lot of time in front of the pitch corrector of their (or their producer’s) choice.

If Llanas performs solo, you will get a tremendous show.  I am witness to that.  If he appears with long time percussionist, Ryan Schiedermayer, that is a 50% bomus.  If there is room to move at the show, you will.  When I was taking notes at the Rockwood show, Schiedermayer was playing a cajon and had a jingle cuff on his pants leg.  He caught me jamming along with my reviewer’s pen (bugger all, Schiedermayer!) but his grooves were so contagious, anyone with a minute pulse of rhythm in their veins will get up and dance.  Were I not afflicted with a bum leg, I would have been dancing at the Rockwood.

Oh, wait a minute, I was working on a review.  No dancing for my best thing to happen to me or myself.  But she was busy taking photos as she always does.

If Llanas has a full band behind him as he has for some of the larger gigs, then you are in position for some great music and good times.

Most of you familiar with this blog are saying “Yeah yeah yeah, we know you have a man crush on Sam Llanas, what’s with the rehash?’  Well, as I have done in the past, this blog is aimed at a specific demographic, namely, those folks in Milwaukee Wisconsin.

You have an opportunity for reasonably priced, high quality entertainment, in that, Sam Llanas is bringing his dynamic solo show to Linemann’s, located at 1001 East Locust Street, and you can call for information at (414) 263-9844.

But don’t take my word for it, why don’t you hear it from one of Milwaukee’s famous son’s, infamous mastering engineer and Llanas manager Gary Tanin:

“Sam Llanas (formerly of BoDeans) will be performing for his annual birthday show at Milwaukee’s Linneman’s, 1001 E. Locust St, Saturday February 9th. Last year Llanas composed and performed the music for the play “A Day for Grace” which included a successful two week run in NYC. Sam will be featuring some of the songs from the play along with brand new material. Tickets are $10.00 and the show starts at 9:00PM.”

So for an absolutely killer time, help Sam celebrate his birthday and get an earful of great music for the stupid-low price of $10 a person.  I can guarantee if you go and don’t have a good time, you are late for an autopsy.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: