BoDeans, “Slave” from I Can’t Stop (2015): One Track Mind

If you’re expecting another rootsy upbeat rocker from the BoDeans, something that’s become their bread and butter over the last three decades, “Slave” likely comes as something of a shock.

They’re ruminating on the way live as a musician gets into your blood, into your DNA. The way it becomes part of who you are, not just what you do. But whereas these songs typically run towards party rock, the BoDeans explore something more bewitching, its dark magic.

An ominous cadence is met with a grimy riff, setting the stage for all of the wide-screen portent that follows. When the song catches a second gear, switching from a field holler’s stomp to something harder, “Slave” connects in an even more elemental way.

This new album (due on April 21, 2015 via MMMusic) follows 2012’s American Made for the BoDeans, led by Kurt Neumann. I Can’t Stop was co-produced by Nuemann and multi-instrumentalist Sam Hawksley, who rounds out the BoDeans’ core. They’ve been on something of a roll lately, releasing four albums in just five years. The BoDeans — who rose to their widest fame when “Closer To Free” from 1993’s Go Slow Down album became the theme song for TV’s Party of Five — have never stopped touring, either.

In fact, I Can’t Stop was recorded during tour breaks at Nashville, Los Angeles and at Neumann’s Austin home. They’re right back at it too, but with a twist. The BoDeans have reunited with drummer Kenny Aronoff (who worked with them in 1990s, then again in the 2000s) for the on-going tour in support of I Can’t Stop, something which confirms — no matter how intriguing the frankly scarifying blues of “Slave” remains — the notion that this Milwaukee-bred band still intends to rock a little. Maybe, a lot.

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has explored music for USA Today, All About Jazz and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the nation by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso
  • Ben Johnston

    We just caught Bodeans for the first time in over five years at Freight & Salvage in Berkeley. Boy was the sound harsh, my wife and I had to exit stage left very early due to the blaring NOISE. It wasn’t enjoyable at all. Bummer, after we drove over an hour in traffic just to catch the show, to be so disappointed. I saw others filing out of the show as well. We’ve seen many acts here, don’t know why the sound was so awful, I feel we should be reimbursed not only for ticket price but horrible experience.