But their geographic separation had nothing
to do with their lack of record productivity. The band's heyday began in the mid-'80s
with a string of critically lauded records starting with their 1986 debut Love
& Hope & Sex & Dreams, produced by twang legend T Bone Burnett.
That was followed a year later by Outside Looking In, produced by Talking
Heads member and fellow Wisconsonian Jerry Harrison. The BoDeans were quickly
touted as the "Best New American Band" by Rolling Stone magazine
as they headed out on tour with the likes of U2. Record collectors who organized
their albums by genre placed their BoDeans discs right next to stuff by other
roots hitmakers of the day like The Long Ryders, The Del Fuegos, Los Lobos and
The duo kept the ball rolling in the '90s, releasing four
albums on Slash/Reprise, concluding with 1996's Blend. "After that,
Reprise didn't renew our contract," Llanas said. "It was a good time
to do our solo records. By '99 we had recorded the demos that would become Resolution.
That's when we had trouble with our management. They didn't like our idea of recording
the CD ourselves and shopping it around to labels. That's when we split with them."
they had been with Reprise since their debut, Llanas said shopping the CD around
was a painless process. They sent it to 30 or 40 labels. Rounder/Zoe had a track
record that the duo were looking for, Llanas said, and ended up releasing Resolution
"When you're on a major label, there's a lot of pressure
to have a big hit and make a slick record," he said. "We tried that
a couple times and it didn't work for us. We said, 'Let's do what we do, and people
who like it will like it; and those who don't, never will.'"
at Neumann's Slamshack studio near Austin, Resolution continues in the
same, homespun BoDeans' style characterized by its tight harmonies on songs that
combine a hint of country with a large helping of rock. It's warm, easy-going
music, with themes that rarely stray from the topics of love and dreams.
always stuck to very simple music," Llanas said. "Real music about real
people. It's not trendy. We're just a bunch of guys playing instruments, not virtuosos.
But we really like what we do and that's the contagious part of our sound."
really like what we do and that's the contagious part of our sound."