January was a productive month for Them Coulee Boys, as we holed up in our practice space to put the final touches on the yet unnamed album. We did settle on a tentative track list during those sessions, and added some new sounds in drums and electric banjo. We played some awesome shows, with our favorites being Wisconsin Bluegrass Fest at the Majestic Theater in Madison and the after party at the Nomad for Pert Near Sandstone’s Winter String Band Gathering.
February saw the first session of recording at Pine Hollow with our good friend and engineer Evan Middlesworth. We did five straight days of tracking there, and finished exhausted but excited. The next we went to Folk Alliance International in Kansas City, MO. It was an international folk music conference where we played 5 showcases, and a countless hours of busking around the festival. We also ate enough BBQ to last us the rest of 2016.
March saw a fun round of shows for us in northern WI, Door County, and Milwaukee. We also had our first taste of the main stage at Mountain Top Festival at Indianhead Resort in the upper peninsula of Michigan, joining many friends in one of our favorite festivals of the year. We finished the month in the recording studio again, spending two days adding color to our new record. Eve Wilczewski of Seasaw joined us on violin, and Evan Middlesworth added his musical touch as well. Tracking on the new record was finished, and we released a teaser video to our facebook friends to get excited for the new record.
April was our first month of festivals in 2016. We played a headlining spot at River Falls Roots and Bluegrass Festival as well as a Midwest Music Fest slot at the Cavalier Theatre in La Crosse. Another important day for us was when we put on a concert to send kids to summer camps at the Lunda Theatre in Black River Falls, WI. We were able to raise over $1,000 that afternoon.
May started with another teaser video release to announce the release date of the new album “Dancing in the Dim Light”. The album art was also released. We played many fun shows that month, but most importantly, our banjo player Beau Janke graduated from UW-Stout.
June was a huge month for Them Coulee Boys, with appearances at some of our favorite spots. We played a late night slot at Blue Ox Music Festival, as well as a main stage slot at Bonfire Music Festival. We released our first music video for “The Mask”, and an album review debuted by Scene Magazine in Canada. We finally released our new album “Dancing in the Dim Light’ on June 28th and started our album release tour at Sounds Like Summer Concert Series in Eau Claire, WI.
July started with our album release tour, with shows in Eau Claire, Trempealeau, Minneapolis, and Viroqua, joined by our friend Zach Brawford on drums. The month was punctuated for us by big shows in Madison, Paperfest in Appleton, and our first trip down to Chicago.
August was a month full of outdoor shows in some of our favorite places. We made our return to Ashley For The Arts in Arcadia, WI. We were the first band to be featured on the downtown speakers on their new weekend local playlist with our song “You & I’.
September was a huge month for Them Coulee Boys, with many crazy milestones along the way. We played on News Channel 8 in the morning before playing Copeland Park in La Crosse with our new friends (and idols) in Pert Near Sandstone and Dead Man Winter. The next day we released “Them Coulee Boys Cool Ale”, a beer made by Blue Heron Brewpub. We ended the month on the Main Stage of Boats and Bluegrass, playing the 8:30PM slot for so many friends and family. It really was a dream playing on the big stage. We ended our month releasing a video for our song “10 ft Tall”.
October started with the purchase of our new tour van, which we ended up naming Clifford. We promptly broke it in with long trips to Iowa City and Fargo. Volume One Best of the Chippewa Valley Poll named us the Best Bluegrass Band, and voted our record “Best Local Album 2016”. Our banjo player went and got engaged in October as well! We played the biggest Honeycrisp Hootenanny ever at Ecker’s Apple Farm. Finally, we ended the month with a bucket list show by playing First Avenue in Minneapolis with Yonder Mountain String Band and Pert Near Sandstone. The history was incredible, and we won’t soon forget the opportunity to play on that stage. Finally, we celebrated Halloween at the Root Note in La Crosse as Them Cow-lee Boys.
November was a bittersweet month for Them Coulee Boys. We played some great shows with Pert Near Sandstone, but it also saw the end of Michael’s time with TCB. Michael played his last show in La Crosse at the Cavalier Theatre, which was punctuated by an engagement of some friends in the crowd. Neil Krause (formerly of Tin Can Gin, Absent Minded String Band) joined us in November, and is the newest full time member of Them Coulee Boys.
Our year ended with a handful of shows in some of our favorite cities of Eau Claire and Minneapolis. We took most of the month to play more with Neil, and write/learn new songs for our next record. 2017 looks to bring lots of excitement for Them Coulee Boys. In all, we played 80+ shows in 2016, and we look to get out on the road even more in the new year.
2016 was a wildly unpredictable year for everyone, but a wildly fun and exciting year for Them Coulee Boys. Many moments in 2016 didn’t feel real to us, and we hope that we can spend 2017 chasing that feeling all around the United States. It wouldn’t happen without the support of our family, friends, and fans. Your love and support makes it all possible and worthwhile. We love you all with all of our hearts. See you out there in 2017, friends!