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Sam Llanas

4 A.M.

(Inner Knot; US: 25 Oct 2011; UK: Import)

Former BoDeans man Sam Llanas steps out for a largely acoustic affair made for late nights and all that goes with them. Whispers are common at the hours Llanas writes of on 4 A.M..  It’s that time between the close of the bar and the swift slap of the dawn, so perhaps it’s fitting that most of the songs sound like whispers exchanged between close friends or lovers. This approach works more often than it doesn’t.  “Fare Thee Well”, “Shyne”, and “Nobody Luvs Me” are prime examples of the artist’s strengths, but a cover of the Cyndi Lauper hit “All Through The Night” will either resonate with you or it won’t, it’s one of the toughest calls here.


The trouble with a quiet night is that, despite our best intentions, the night is never as quiet as we’d like. Neighbors pound their feet on the floor above, fire trucks and ambulances race to distant destinations, babies cry, a drunken roommate stumbles in just when we’ve finally drifted off. Those moments are missing here, swallowed under the illusion, perhaps, that Llanas owns the night, at least the one he’s singing about. That’s too bad because those rough edges might have given us a fuller picture of the writer, but also might have offered a deeper story about all that happens when the night comes.

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Jedd Beaudoin is an award-winning writer and broadcaster. He holds an MFA in creative writing (fiction) from Wichita State University and hosts Strange Currency six nights week for Wichita Public Radio. His writing has appeared in No Depression and The Crab Orchard Review as well as at websites such as Ytsejam.com and Amazon.com.


Tagged as: bodeans | cyndi lauper
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