Samuel J. "Sam" Llanas (born in 1961) is a singer, acoustic guitarist, and songwriter in several rock and roots rock bands active from the 1980s to the 2000s, including the BoDeans and Absinthe. Sam is known for his unusual and distinctive voice.
Llanas was one of the founding members of the roots rock band the BoDeans, which he formed with high school friend Kurt Neumann in Waukesha, Wisconsin. In 1985, after adding Guy Hoffman (drums) in 1984 and Bob Griffin (bass), the quartet signed a contract with Slash/Warner Records and shortened their name to the BoDeans.
Under the guidance of producer T-Bone Burnett, they entered Hollywood's Sunset Sound Factory in October to record their first album. The critically acclaimed debut Love & Hope & Sex & Dreams was released in 1986. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the band had several singles in the top 40 "mainstream rock" charts. In the mid-1990s, the band had two top 10 songs in the "Adult contemporary" charts.
Llanas provided backing vocals on three tracks from Robbie Robertson's self-titled 1987 solo album. He and Neumann, credited as BoDeans, performed on "Showdown at Big Sky" and "American Roulette". Llanas is credited individually on "Somewhere Down the Crazy River".
The BoDeans took some time off in the late 1990s so Neumann and Llanas could record solo albums. Llanas founded Absinthe, with the help of Milwaukee musicians Jim Eannelli (guitars and bass) and Guy Hoffman (formerly of Oil Tasters and Violent Femmes, currently of Radio Romeo). They have released one album, 1998's A Good Day To Die.
In 2011, Sam announced that he will release his second solo album, titled 4 A.M., on October 25. On August 18, he left the BoDeans for unknown reasons.
- A Good Day To Die (1998) (Absinthe/Sam Llanas solo project) - Llanas Music
- 4 A.M. (The Way Home) (2011) Inner Knot Records
- Four / Five Live - Volume I (2013) Llanas Music
- BoDeans: Biography : Rolling Stone