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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Thursday, July 31, 2014

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In Music

Panalure mixes unexpected instrumentation into its unique rootsy sound.

Five questions for Panalure


Though Panalure is a new name in local music, the names of its members may be familiar.

The group, which incorporates steel guitar, accordion and ukulele in its atypical American roots music sound, includes local music veterans like Ken Hanson and Michael De Boer – who are both in the band Longacre, too – among its six members.

You can see and hear a taste of Panalure here.

In the meantime, we asked the band to introduce itself via responses to five questions...

OnMilwaukee.com: Who is Panalure?

Panalure: Panalure is LaRita Craft on piano and accordion, Michael De Boer on slide and lead guitar, Ken Hanson on bass, Kari Hoff on harmonies, Nathan Kilen on percussion and Fred Ziegler on guitar and lead vocals. Fred writes most of the songs, but the creative contributions of all members influence the final arrangements.

OMC: How did you guys get together? Give us the quick history of the band.

Panalure: Early last summer, Ken and Michael were drinking some kind of strong rum at Hooligan's and talking about putting together a cover band: Bee Gees, Carol Channing, Van Halen, Perry Como ... that sort of thing. We invited Fred because he can sing like Carol Channing and knows virtually every Bee Gees song. Anyhow, Fred said he had a bunch of songs and that he was kinda sick of covers.

Once we had the foundation. That is to say, three guys with an opinion and very few good ideas. We figured we'd have to make the lineup a bit more interesting and more appealing ... we knew we wanted an accordion player. We were hoping for someone that was really smart and would look good in a Shriner's uniform. And, to our delight, we found LaRita on Facebook. She thought she was being stalked and she kinda was, plus, she already had a Shriner's outfit.

We tried out a few drummers but they were way to serious and kinda homely and looked lousy in a hat. We decided to advertise in the personals to find our drummer, Nathan. We advertised for a lady killer that could keep time. As it turns out, he's simply a lady killer who did time.

We finally had our debut in April at the Bay View Brew Haus which promptly closed after our performance. We don't think it had anything to do with us.

General criteria that all band members must meet:

  1. Be fun to hang with. This is pretty much our only social life.
  2. Lean to the left. We won't be playing any Ted Nugent songs.
  3. Look good in a hat ... or have a "hair hat". It's critical to our "alternative" image.
  4. Enjoy the sound you hear when your power steering is about to go. Michael's steel guitar playing is a bit unusual, to say the least.
  5. Be OK with songs about prison life, sexual deviants, empty rooms and serial killers. Look in Fred's eyes ... no more explanation needed.
  6. Bring wine to rehearsals. We find this helps us put up with Ken's terrible ideas.

OMC: Wow, that's pretty strict criteria. Are you working toward a release?

Panalure: We did some developmental recordings in our attic practice studio to work out the arrangements. Some of those tracks became our demo release. We will be getting down to some serious recording at the end of Summer and looking for an official release late in the Fall.

OMC: What's the band sound like?

Panalure: Folk-rock rhythms overlaid with afro-country slide guitar, classical-jazz piano improvisation and three part harmony. It's a sound that's a little difficult to categorize, but it's all held together by singable melodies and lyrics that tell stories, so it's fairly accessible. We've been compared to Calexico and other bands in that vein. We like to think of it as seductive and twisted. One minute floating peacefully through the air without a care in the world and then collecting the bones of victims in a field somewhere the next.

OMC: What's the significance of the name?

Panalure: Panalure suggests the allure of expansive possibilities (pan). We bring together a lot of personal history and musical influences and let all of them have their place in the mix of our songs. Also, we like to think our sound is somewhat cinematic in nature and Panalure was a Kodak professional grade printing paper that featured "optimized spectral sensitivity."

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