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Keyboardist Ross Bogan’s latest project, Lureto, delivers laid-back Sunday afternoon vibes

Keyboardist Ross Bogan’s latest project, Lureto, delivers laid-back Sunday afternoon vibes
December 2022

Lureto’s first EP, ”A Peak from the Crow's Nest,” captures the joy of the jam

Lureto—a new project from keyboardist Ross Bogan and guitarist Wallace Mullinax—plays The Pour House with Andy Frasco & The U.N. on December 28 and 29.

When keyboardist Ross Bogan (Doom Flamingo) and guitarist Wallace Mullinax (Reckoning) retired their jam/funk project, Robotrio, and rebranded as Lureto, they set an intention to play music they wanted to listen to. “It was a totally opposite approach to music,” says Mullinax of the transition from blazing guitar solos to Lureto’s subdued, nuanced touch on its first eight-track, A Peak from the Crow’s Nest. “Everything became very laid-back, even restrained. We’re trying to let a sound bloom, as opposed to forcing energy into it.”

That doesn’t mean the collection, released earlier this year, is without musical peaks. Opening track “Ode to George” pays homage to Funkadelic with its “Maggot Brain”-esque crescendo. The jam, recorded live at Fairweather Studio on James Island, wasn’t intended to emulate George Clinton, but they realized the similar vibe after playing it back. “That happens a lot when you’re improvising and subconsciously playing something,” explains Bogan, a 2012 College of Charleston grad. “I’m a strong advocate of wearing your influences on your sleeve.” 

What began as a studio session to rehearse and write evolved into a cohesive 47-minute album that flows through songs like the uplifting “Soul Shanty” to the album’s most concise track, “One Rip,” a four-minute interplay of distinct riffs between Bogan and Mullinax, driven by drummer Jonathan Peace and bass player Ben Mossman. “We did the shotgun method of recording,” Mullinax says. “We didn’t have any material written, so we grabbed snippets from our jams and turned them into songs. The idea was to keep it simple and produce something that sounds and feels good—and then not mess with it.” 

On A Peak from the Crow’s Nest, Lureto captures impromptu exchanges, preserving the beautiful process of making music.

The result is an easy but exciting listen. If Steve Winwood and Khruangbin shared a smoke under a full moon on a Caribbean island, chatted about their love of surf music pioneer Dick Dale, and then headed into the studio, they’d land near Lureto. The nine-minute “Ouija”—which includes several minutes of light brush and cymbal work from Peace and a meandering conversation between keys and guitar—isn’t radio-friendly, but it’s perfect over coffee or on a lazy Sunday afternoon. 

A Peak from the Crow’s Nest features musicians who make their living fueling dance parties at high-energy concerts kicking back and playing music for everyday listening. That approach has appeal. Earlier this year, the band, which didn't have a touring history, signed a record deal with Royal Potato Family, a New York-based label whose roster includes Lukas Nelson, the Greyboy Allstars, and Kenny Roby. “[Label founder] Kevin Calabro liked the music and wanted to help us out," Bogan says. “Finding a label that is totally music driven is rare these days.” 

Lureto’s live shows are as exploratory as their studio process. “We’ve all played gigs where you become background music, so to keep it interesting, we’ll make up a song onstage,” says Bogan. “I’ve always loved it when we play something and then look around like, ‘Did anyone record that?’” 

Listen Up: Watch Lureto play a cover of the Grateful Dead’s ”Tennessee Jed.”