The Boys Are Back: Them Coulee Boys drop off another pack of folk gems

Eric Christenson, photos by Andrea Paulseth

TOO COULEE FOR SCHOOLEE. Them Coulee Boys are set to release their new album Dancing In The Dim Light.
TOO COULEE FOR SCHOOLEE. Them Coulee Boys are set to release their new album Dancing In The Dim Light.

When I last caught up Soren Staff and Beau  Janke to talk about their debut album I Never Lied About Being In Love, they were a couple fresh-faced, wildly talented kids who met as camp counselors and just loved playing music together.

Since then, the band has put in serious work gallivanting around the Midwest, playing every last show they could, in every conceivable venue. From packed festival shows under tents in small towns to La Crosse’s Cavalier Theater, to apple orchards to the Majestic Theatre in Madison, to last weekend’s Blue Ox Music Festival right here in Eau Claire.

It’s been many busy months polishing a live show, perfecting their foot-stomping bluegrass-inflused tunes, and figuring out new ways to write songs collaboratively. And you can add moving to Eau Claire to that list, for added measure.

And now they’ve got a brand new record to show off their hard work called Dancing In The Dim Light, which comes out on June 30 and shows off this band's startling growth. Where previous recordings were mostly DIY efforts, this new batch of songs comes with an added professional flourish courtesy of Evan Middlesworth at Pine Hollow Studio in Eau Claire. Where previously the four members would pick and pluck their way through quick and catchy songs, they’ve added live drums to some tracks. Elsewhere on the record, backup vocals and strings round out their rougher edges.

Dancing is really a testament to this band’s work ethic. When they’re not writing and recording, they're making folks dance and vibe out at live shows all over the place. They work tirelessly, it seems, and even though they consistently play two or three shows every single week of the year, there’s no steam lost.

“Soren writes in his free time for hours and hours – barebones stuff – then he’ll come to us. We’ll hear them and say ‘I can add this, this, and this,’ then we all get together on Sundays and pump out tunes,” Janke said.

“When I’m writing, I’m trying to connect more with past experiences and emotions I’ve felt,” Soren said. “That’s how I process things. I’m trying to relive those moments and get in that headspace.”

On Dancing, the band sounds more reassured than ever, and ready to prove that they have what it takes to make some serious waves way past their geographical radius.

But to truly experience Them Coulee Boys purely in their element is to take in a live show. They crank out some seriously good music with such gusto and energy, it’s irresistibly fun.

“We cut our teeth playing live shows, getting better as a band just by playing together all the time,” Staff said. “We just always want to be playing.”

Them Coulee Boys are celebrating the release of Dancing In The Dim Light on June 30 with a performance at the Sounds Like Summer Concert Series, followed by The Standup Hoedown, a comedy/music show with Clear Water Comedy. To pre-order the album, check out www.themcouleeboys.com

Dancing In the Dim Light Album Teaser

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