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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Opinion — Its okay to outgrow your college friends
Opinion — It's okay to outgrow your college friends
Megan PoeApril 12, 2024

Them Coulee Boys are back in town

Band members from left: Beau Ranke, Neil Krause, Jens Staff and Soren Staff have produced three albums since forming in 2014. The first two were more Bluegrass while their newest album blends their original sound, punk-folk and Americana. Photo courtesy of Kyle Lehman

Americana band Them Coulee Boys continues to develop music that encompasses the feeling of the Midwest. Originally from Eau Claire, Wisconsin, the band of four are making their third appearance on Friday, Sept. 6 at the Ore Dock Brewing Co. This show will be exactly a week after their third album is released called Die Happy.

“I would describe it as a little bit farther from what we’ve been doing just a grown-up version. It’s a little bit more focused, we focused on the sound and we wanted a collective sound along with a collective lyric,” banjo and piano player Beau Janke said.

Other members of the band include Soren Staff on lead vocals, Jens Staff on the mandolin and bass player Neil Krause.

After two albums produced by themselves and with the help of friends, the band sought out the help of producer and musician Dave Simonett frontman in Trampled By Turtles.

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“Soren wrote it to be a concept album basically around the Midwest,” Janke said. “We wanted to keep it open to the Midwest, the feeling of being in the Midwest and the way that you are accepted here and loved by everyone immediately no matter who you are. It wraps up, in the end, focusing on all those songs with a song called, ‘My Anxiety and Me’ kind of just saying it’s all a metaphor.”

In the past, Janke said their albums weren’t as focused as their new one which shows how the band has grown together in the past five years together and seven years as friends.

“Soren made very grown-up lyrics talking about very adult issues and we kept the band at bay. We didn’t constantly play solos and we didn’t change out the sound too much,” Janke said. “We kind of focused and honed in this time and we said we want a specific thing for every track and we want one unique thing per song, but not too much.”

The band was formed when Janke and Soren met at Luther Park Bible Camp in Chetek, Wisconsin, where the two were camp counselors. When the children would leave for the week they would unwind by kicking back and playing music together. The following summer Jens, Soren’s brother, became a counselor at the camp and they started performing together.

“It started out as kind of a silly little thing, but we had bigger dreams and we chased them and now we’re here,” Janke said.

Their first album came out in 2014, essentially the year they started the band and they all learned a lot from their first experience producing music for others to obtain.

“We made a six or seven-song EP. We made it in less than 24 hours at our friend’s house who had recording equipment on his computer,” Janke said. “It was really fun but the only issue was every time we got too loud the dogs would bark. He had two dogs that would just bark for 15 minutes every time that we played too loud, which is something that we wanted to do, back then we were very rowdy with our music.”

Lately, the band has been doing really well in the Pacific Northwest, but they’re going to continue to stay in Eau Claire to play venues there and keep it as their home base. All of the members are in their mid-to-late 20s and for Janke, Soren and Jens, this is their first official band.

Them Coulee Boys are excited to be back in Marquette next Friday and experience the “friendly crowd.”

“It’s Neil’s (our bass player) favorite place to play. We’ve played so many places and he loves going to Ore Dock,” Janke said.

After the show at the Ore Dock, the band plans to do karaoke at Flanigan’s Bar on Washington Street like they did last year.

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About the Contributor
Maggie Duly, Social Media Editor
Hi! I'm Maggie Duly the Social Media Editor. This is my fourth year at NMU, I graduate in December with a degree in Social Media Design Management. My goal for the North Wind is to make our content more accessible to the community and gain readership.