The Oxleys Join Lee Henke at Anodyne

The Oxleys.

Milwaukee folk band The Oxleys joined singer-songwriter Lee Henke for an intimate evening at the popular Walker’s Point coffeehouse Anodyne on Thursday. Henke joined The Oxleys for their final song, and vice versa.

The Oxleys are guitarist Cray Rieckmann and keyboardist Sam Brunelli; both exchange vocal harmonies while Rieckmann is primarily the lyricist. They formed from Brunelli approaching Rieckmann playing guitar on a UWM sidewalk, and the rest is history.

“We haven’t played many spaces this big in front of this many people, so it was cool to see how the crowd reacts to what we’re doing,” Rieckmann said.

The duo dropped their self-titled debut LP last summer. Dan Rodriguez of The Lodge and The Pearl Recording Studio in Minneapolis produced it. They are currently working on album number two.

“It’ll be a long process for album two,” Brunelli said. “The last album we recorded quickly…we spent four or five days recording all of it. This one will be slower…like laying down some tracks here and there and being more intentional. It’ll be more financially easy to pay for too. It’s very expensive to record; that’s just the reality of it.”

The Oxleys have toured all over the state playing smaller venues but drawing enthusiastic crowds.

“We haven’t played much in Milwaukee to be honest,” Rieckmann said. “I’m from Stevens Point so we played there a lot to start. It’s tough to play in Milwaukee; it’s a hard little circuit to get into.”

As a matter of fact, in February they went on a tour to Colorado and back playing mostly DIY shows. They go on another, more extensive tour this summer.

“When we went on the last tour I was a student at UWM and Cray was a full-time employee at an electrical company. He quit his job and I dropped out of school. Now we’ve got a lot more time,” Brunelli said.

Lee Henke hails from northern Wisconsin and is noteworthy for having been living out of a van constructed into a mobile cabin for the past fourteen months.

“I came to terms that I didn’t want to just (play music) to do it; I wanted it because it was the life I wanted to have. So I tried to turn playing music into a lifestyle rather than a job. I use music as the vehicle to do everything I want to do.”

Henke released his debut EP “Schema” in September 2015 and is releasing his full-length, Nashville-recorded debut album fairly soon.

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