Posts Tagged ‘Sam Llanas’


August 21, 2013
A personalized copy of Four/Five Live Volume 1! It doesn't get much better than that!

A personalized copy of Four/Five Live Volume 1! It doesn’t get much better than that!

AUTHOR’S NOTE:  We are embarking on something new here at the BouleBlog, a double review!!!  There is much going on in the Sam Llanas camp and we have little time to cover it.  So sit back in your favorite comfy chair, grab yourself a lovely beverage, turn your cell phone off and spend some time with Sam Llanas, as well as Doug Vincent in our first epic, single post two part review!  Two for the price of one, and cue that annoying little guy ‘the price is FREE!!!!’

When you see an emotive performer like Sam Llanas live, you get to witness the whole being.  Because when Llanas interprets his songs, time after time he put each and every atom of that being into every performance.  So to get this live disc from Llanas is thrilling because other than the visual of Llanas, you are still going to get powerhouse passion, as well as the full array of human emotions in song form.

For those of you who want to get a live load of Llanas, he will be performing sets in advance of the play A Day For Grace playing in various locations from Virginia, to Denver, to Milwaukee, to Chicago and culminating in a return to New York to play on the stage where it first came to being, Stage Left Studio.  Llanas has been reported to play a set then is joined for the play by Doug Vincent, star and playwright.

I find myself at a slight disadvantage as many of the songs were from Llanas’ BoDeans catalog.  I have not yet gotten myself up to speed on the BoDeans (regrettably).  So I will evaluate the songs I am unfamiliar with on their current merit, how they were performed on this disc, at that moment in time.  Actually, I think that’s fair.  There is no real point in comparison between what was and what is.  Llanas is solo now.  He lives and dies by the bits and bytes he puts on the disc.  But knowing Llanas, he’s not sweating it.  He is a consummate performer, and his backing band is a crew of highly skilled professionals (we’ll get to who plays what later on) who are totally capable of carrying out Llanas’ concentrated compositions.

In fact, here’s some of them now:



June 17, 2013
Doug Vincent (foreground right) and his altruistic co-hort Sam Llanas (background left) are at it again with a new run of A Day For Grace. Photo by Matthew Staver

Doug Vincent (foreground right) and his altruistic co-hort Sam Llanas (background left) are at it again with a new run of A Day For Grace. Photo by Matthew Staver

Boulder, CO, June 17 — Boulder StoryHealers has confirmed that A Day for Grace (ADFG), the social drama written and performed by Doug Vincent with music by rock icon Sam Llanas (formerly of BoDeans) will kick-off its National Tour in August 2013 with stops in Berryville, VA, August 18; Denver, CO, August 29; Milwaukee, WI, September 5-8, and Chicago, IL, September 11-13, before its return to New York City’s Stage Left Studio, September 19-22. Tickets can be purchased through each venue’s website or at

Infused with humor, A Day for Grace is a heartwarming story of hope and triumph over adversity. The play recounts the emotional roller-coaster true journey of playwright Doug Vincent — a father-to-be — as he chases parental shadows from his tumultuous youth in small town Virginia to find the light for his unborn child.

Llanas shares the stage with Vincent, performing his soulful music that underscores the 10 different characters Vincent portrays and serves as the drama’s emotional touchstones and enthralling Greek Chorus. “It’s almost impossible to watch the play without marveling at the obvious synchronicity inherent in this collaboration,” says director Gary Tanin. “The unique mechanism of interplay between the songs and monologue is mesmerizing.”



June 10, 2013
DJ Odd dons his ski mask to navigate the slopes of technopia.  Will he make the mark or be shanghaied by his own fans?

DJ Odd dons his ski mask to navigate the slopes of technopia. Will he make the mark or be shanghaied by his own fans?

Ok, here’s the back story.  I was pissed as hell when, after the brilliant Todd Rundgren release of 2004’s Liars, and then the ‘ok’ release of Arena, I was ok with his concept of bringing albums like A Wizard A True Star, Todd, and Healing to the live stage.  What pissed me off was his insistence on releasing two discs (one E.P. and one L.P.) of Robert Johnson material (hey, cheap, no royalty payments, that crap is so old it’s out of public domain by now) then, further pissing me off was having ‘fans’ (read: well-to-do sycophants with $5,000 to burn) pay him to appear on his re[Productions] album where he would secure the rights to record songs from acts he had produced in the past (horrific versions of Bourgeois Tagg’s “Out Of My Mind” and XTC’s “Dear God”) but then what bitchfest about Todd Rundgren from this reviewer would be complete without my reflecting back to the “event” at the Keswick Theater.  You want the deets on that, you can search for the review on this page.  I’ve spent enough column space and bandwidth on that issue.

So I sorta feel like the gunslinger in the center of town in the Wild West ready to draw pistols.   Me, the nearly lifelong Todd fan (let’s face it, I have been into him since 1974, I was 11/12, I am 50 now, been listening/buying/attending all these years and for you ‘Todd was better without Utopia’ types, piss off!  I LOVED UTOPIA!!!) and Rundgren, the now 65 year old ‘aging rocker’ with a voice in a lower register so he has to effect, process and lower his keys for older songs (I’ve seen live clips on YouTube for this current tour where he suspends the microphone over his head like at a prize fight, that’s not a clever visual gimmick for his techno ‘D.J. Odd’ (Techno Todd?) persona, that is to assist his aging vocal chords have projection and hit some of the notes he couldn’t with his head down).  Although, it is not unusual for Rundgren to assign himself monikers to reflect the new style of music he is brandishing.  Reference the No World Order and Individualist era, when he billed himself as TR-i (Todd Rundgren interactive).

So in my Wild West daydream, Rundgren dressed in white as he will no doubt be the people’s favorite, and I, opposite Rundgren, dressed in black as I have already proven to be the people’s favorite… to HATE (ask any King Crimson fan).  He has his Mac and Foamy (his favorite sea foam green P-Project Stratocaster copy guitar) ready to draw, I have my pencils, pad and angry disposition ready to pull.

Three, two, one, DRAW!



June 9, 2013
Come on in to the Waukesha County Museum and check out the Les Paul Experience Museum!  Photo courtesy Gary Tanin

Come on in to the Waukesha County Museum and check out the Les Paul Experience Museum! Photo courtesy Gary Tanin

No, really.  Today is Les Paul’s birthday and we are going to pull a special shift and publish on a Sunday (the day of Paul’s birth) to bring you inside the opening of the Les Paul Experience Exhibit at the Waukesha County Museum in Waukesha WI.

The tribute video with Sam Llanas has lead to this day, and will be part of the exhibit as well as being available for viewing on various online video websites.

Please enjoy this photo journal by Gary Tanin!



June 5, 2013
The Cliff Notes version of A Day For Grace.  The perfect primer for the new-to-the-pathos that is A Day For Grace.

The Cliff Notes version of A Day For Grace. The perfect primer for the new-to-the-pathos that is A Day For Grace.

So far, I have reviewed the play itself, in its formative state being honed on the stage of Stage Left Studio in NYC.  Then came the audio preview of the DVD soundtrack.  This time we are sent a tease of what is to come.

What is to come will be truly extraordinary.

For the main entry on this DVD is a teaser of the forthcoming, full length DVD.  I was hesitant to want to give this any attention once I saw the “abridged” notation on the disc label.  But after watching this sampler, I have changed my opinion.  If this disc can get people hooked on the message Vincent and Llanas deliver, it is a means to a worthy end.

For those not familiar with that message, A Day For Grace is about suicide prevention, dealing with alcoholic family, bullying, and the daunting task of coming face to face with new fatherhood and fearing the repetition of patterns within one’s upbringing.

The secondary entry on this disc is the trailer for the campaign to Send Sammy to Broadway.  An Indiegogo campaign that was set up to raise money to help finance the costs associated with bringing the show to NYC, Milwaukee, Chicago, and other venues such as the newly explored option called The Barn in Virginia.  This is still in the works as of press date.

I find myself a bit bashful about promoting the trailer as, at a certain point, my name is brandished on the screen with a pull quote from my original show review.  This is one project I feel no shame being associated with.  Many of the show’s topics (or messages) are in fact societal situations I have found myself having to deal with.  If blathering on about A Day For Grace helps one person discover it, helps one person through some troubling times, I can take the heat for being “repetitive, one-trick pony, boring and uninteresting” for covering this show and its efforts and progress.



May 13, 2013

Not much more needs to be said here.  The poster tells it all.  Courtesy Dolores Rush Hippler.

As many of you will notice, this blog has gone through some mutations in recent history.  While part of the syndication, we were exclusively dedicated to covering progressive, progressive pop, progressive rock and so on.  We hate to stagnate.  We hate to gather cobwebs.  We are not huge fans of resting on our laurels.  New and different has long been the order of things, the question remaining just how different are we willing to be?

We think we have answered that question with the recent reviews of acts like Sam Llanas and Ed Randazzo.  These artists, while different in scale, share a love of blues/roots musicians.  The core, the basis of most types of music that came after them.  Where American (and to some extent British and perhaps global) music has discovered its foundation.

It can be refreshing not having to scratch the head and attempt to decipher what time signature the piece is recorded in.  Good old 4/4, easy to listen to (as opposed to easy listening) and refreshing in its own right.  I have learned to enjoy blues/roots music recently and I feel confident that should you choose to attend the following event, you can learn to love the blues too.

Check this out from PocoNotes, a group dedicated to promoting area events featuring blues/roots musicians:



April 17, 2013
One sweet version of the guitar developed by The Wizard Of Waukesha, Les Paul.

One sweet version of the guitar developed by The Wizard Of Waukesha, Les Paul.

This blog has been in the crosshairs so many times for having an unfair focus on any one particular subject at one time.  First it was too focused on Todd Rundgren, then it was too focused on Adrian Belew, then it was too focused on A Day For Grace, and now we return the focus to Sam Llanas.  In defense of the blog, it cannot be helped if these artists are constantly on my radar, and if this really bothers anyone that much, again, simply do not read this column!!!

If that is not a convincing enough argument for the position this blog takes as to what will and what will not be covered here, please scroll down to the “categories” section of this page.  One of the “categories” selected will be “Opinion/Editorial”.  For those who don’t know, this means I am free, as dictated by the codicils of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution that guarantees me the right to free speech.  Many law enforcement agencies repeatedly attempt to quell the rights within the Constitution under the “Patriot Act”.

I defer to the founding fathers, Jefferson, Adams, Franklin, et al.

This blog was born of a music review column.  We do all kinds of reviews, music, theater, television, and yes, societal events.

A founding father of modern music is a name you have to familiar with if you claim to know music anytime after the 50’s.  Les Paul.  If you have seen any musical act in just about any genre, from jazz to heavy metal, you have seen a Les Paul.  Jazz great Al DiMeola, plays a Les Paul guitar by Gibson.  Progressive rock icon Robert Fripp not only plays a Les Paul guitar by Gibson, but has developed a new standard tuning developed off of a drop C tuned to 7ths, and has begun to oversee manufacturing of his own line of “Crimson Guitars” loosely based off of the Gibson Les Paul.  Ace Freely of Kiss plays a Les Paul guitar by Gibson almost exclusively.  This list could go in indeterminately.

Modern music was able to grow and thrive, and the possibility for the multi-instrumentalist was made possible by Les Paul as he developed the (what we now know to be computer based) multi-track recording system, which allows musicians to record a track at a time and to layer instruments separately so that one man can play everything himself and play all the parts.  Paul used to do so with his wife, Mary Ford, who was herself a capable guitarist and vocalist.

Now, an old friend of BouleBlog has gotten his hands on some of Paul’s very own guitars for a very special video to his song “The Way Home” from the brilliant 2011 release 4a.m. (The Way Home).  The video for the song was filmed in association with the opening of the Wizard Of Waukesha museum opening in Wisconsin on none other than what would have been Paul’s 98th birthday, June 9th.

From a recent industry magazine, ProSound News:

To experience the video, check it out here:

Also, in case you missed Llanas’ recent appearance to promote not only the Museum and the Video, but also the current campaign to “Send Sammy To Broadway”.  “Send Sammy To Broadway” is a fund raising campaign which has actually (thanks to sports figures such as Matt Lepsis) met one of its primary goals and is speeding towards its next financial goal, all in the name of bringing a second run of the critically acclaimed play, A Day For Grace not only to cities where it was so well received, but new venues to assist in awareness of societal causes as anti-suicide, anti-bullying and sobriety awareness.  Llanas provides poignant musical interludes during …Grace with playwright Doug Vincent.  Check out Llanas’ Milwaukee appearance here:

In conclusion, we will continue to cover Sam Llanas, Gary Tanin, Doug Vincent and A Day For Grace as often as is necessary.  In light of recent events in Boston, human behavioral understanding is required perhaps even more so now than ever.  If A Day For Grace and the efforts of Llanas can make a difference in one life, then each and every letter in the continuing coverage of this blog will have been worth it!


April 10, 2013
Local NE PA artist Ed Randazzo's latest release Show And Tell.  Out now!  Photo courtesy Ed Randazzo

Local NE PA artist Ed Randazzo’s latest release Show And Tell. Out now! Photo courtesy Ed Randazzo

Facebook is actually good for some things!  This may come as a surprise to many, but I had the good fortune to make the acquaintance of Ed Randazzo through Facebook.  While the initial conversation was not about music, we became conversational through the site and I got introduced to a whole new world of music happening (literally) in my back yard.  Randazzo invited me to one of his shows, opening for Spencer Bohren at the Tripp house in West Scranton’s Tripp’s park section.

This show was put on by a group I can’t stop going on about, PocoNotes, as they have one of the most noble operation statements I have heard of in many years of dealing with the monster that is the music business. That mission statement being, to promote blues and roots music on the local level.  I have been a proponent of local level music promotion since I was involved in playing music at the local level back in the mid to late 80’s with Rudi And The Living Dolls.  Since being fortunate enough to establish this column, first through the independent music store syndication, I was immediately barred from promoting local acts because the indie music stores weren’t able to profit from independently self-distributed products.

Products from acts like another former Rudi And The Living Dolls member, drummer Joe Tocket’s new band Instant Karma and the subject of this review, Ed Randazzo and his album Show And Tell.



April 5, 2013
A Day For Grace playwright and actor Doug Vincent.  Vincent tackles topics of societal taboo usually not considered fodder for a play.  Photo by Matthew Staver

A Day For Grace playwright and actor Doug Vincent. Vincent and musical contributor Sam Llanas are gearing up for a second run of A Day For Grace, read on about how you can bring this remarkably moving play to a city near you! Photo by Matthew Staver

AUTHOR’S NOTE:  We are eschewing our Friday Flashback schedule as we are pleased to be one of the few outlets that have the resources to bring you this advance notice of a campaign that launched this morning in Milwaukee, on NBC affiliate TMJ4’s The Morning Blend show.  The campaign is called “Send Sammy To Broadway” and it is slightly misleading because the campaign is not only sending singer/songwriter extraordinaire Sam Llanas to Broadway, but also playwright/actor/comedian Doug Vincent to Broadway to put his play, A Day For Grace in front of more eyes.  Why it belongs in front of more eyes follows…

Many people feel alone.  Some feel ostracized in a room crowded with people.  Often times, people suffering with depression feel nothing.  They may be loved, cared for, even needed by family members and friends.  But once that chemical imbalance claims the pleasure centers of the brain, no amount of love, caring and company can overcome it.

Unfortunately, and often times, there is an ugly force that DOES overcome this chemical imbalance:  The desire to contemplate or commit suicide.

While it is not often discussed, depression, addiction, and suicide touch many, many lives.  I hate to nick from Reefer Madness, but it could touch yours, or yours, OR YOURS!!!  It might surprise you to know that these issues have touched most of the principle players involved with A Day For Grace.  These issues have touched the author of what you are reading.  Directly.  I have dealt with addicted parents.  I have dealt with my own depression.  I have contemplated suicide myself.  Maybe now it will be more apparent as to WHY this project takes up frequent residence on BouleBlog.


The original review was one of the most trying events I have ever covered.  Half of me was trying to deal with the emotions that were being so expertly laid down on the stage, half of me was trying to communicate those emotions in a review.  Divide those halves into half was trying to make sure these emotions weren’t too much for my best thing to ever happen to me (whose Grandmother committed suicide by hanging) and then further divide the review half into trying not to bawl my eyes out at Sam Llanas’ acutely ironic, fourteen year old songs bringing that extra punch to the play.

Would Doug Vincent’s words be as emotive without Llanas’ music?  Fortunately, we don’t have to consider this.  The duo are bringing back this amazing, touching, revealing play to the stages again, but the ‘Send Sammy To Broadway’ campaign has loftier goals.

While the campaign title suggests that the goal is to land Llanas and A Day For Grace on Broadway, the ultimate goal is to find stages in as many major cities that will have it.  Granted, this is not a play for every town.  Smaller, rural communities may have a problem with some of the subject matter.  Less cosmopolitan areas may also have issue with some of the language.



March 10, 2013

Hit play signs Llanas for second play theatrical tour to Milwaukee, Chicago and New York City

Sam Llanas (left) and Doug Vincent (right); Llanas and Vincent bring the touching play "A Day For Grace" back to fortunate audiences in Milwaukee, Chicago and New York City for another run.  Do not miss this most  poignant performance!  Photo by Matthew Staver

Sam Llanas (left) and Doug Vincent (right); Llanas and Vincent bring the touching play “A Day For Grace” back to fortunate audiences in Milwaukee, Chicago and New York City for another run. Do not miss this most poignant performance! Photo by Matthew Staver

Milwaukee – In a career move that belies his time opening for everyone from Bob Dylan to U2, former BoDeans rock legend Sam Llanas has joined the cast of the critically acclaimed drama Day for Grace.

The play, which weaves the true-life tale of playwright and lead actor Doug Vincent’s
tumultuous youth, features Llanas in live nightly performances of music from his 1998 album A Good Day To Die.

“Every issue addressed in the play – from bullying and mental illness to alcoholism and suicide – is
also addressed on Sam’s album” said Llanas’ manager Gary Tanin in a recent interview. “What’s
even more astonishing is that the playwright had never even heard of this album before writing
the play.”


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