Wild Roses bloom during pandemic, grow fanbase


Steven Koehn keeping rhythm for the Wild Roses Band. Photo courtesy of Wild Roses


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With soaring guitar riffs and the hearty voice of their lead singer, Wild Roses is contributing to the ‘new wave’ of rock.

The band consists of two former and two current students at UNK. The graduates include lead singer Cassie Brown, who a past Antelope staff member, and bassist Ryan Swenson. Steven Koehn is the drummer and a music major. Cameron Russell is the lead guitarist and a music business major. 

The band performs their original songs the most.

“Nebraska is kind of a weird state for original music, but I think that there’s a lot of good potential in the state right now for original bands,” Koehn said. “I think that a young rock band going for it and pushing for your own music is a good step in the right direction for music.”

The band was formed when Wild Roses’ original guitarist and Brown were playing acoustic shows and asked Koehn to join them. The trio played at the UNK FAME Talent Show, with Koehn on drums and Brown playing bass. Koehn’s roommate, Jacob Nore, joined as their bassist. This addition led to Brown’s transition from playing bass to rhythm guitar. 

Nore came up with the band’s name after seeing a rose that Koehn received after a separate performance.

After the talent show, the group played at The Village of Kearney for St. Patrick’s Day. 

It was March 2020, and the outbreak of COVID-19 threatened the state of the band. Yet, they continued rehearsing throughout the summer. 

Wild Roses started playing at venues in Kearney. As they continued to perform, they played in venues stretching from Omaha all the way to North Platte. 

“I played my first show with Wild Roses at Retrograde,” Russell said. “They’re super wonderful and easy to work with. And it’s a really great environment to play at.”

A year after COVID-19 hit, Wild Roses released their first single, “The Flame.”

Their second single “Medicine,” is filled with hearty vocals and a driving beat. It’s one of the band’s favorites.

“I just think it’s kind of a clever song,” Brown said. “It’s one we’ve really gotten a good response with. It was also the first one we professionally recorded, so that was a cool experience.” 

Their newest EP, “Blooming,” was released last October. The group worked with Kent Lutt at Tone Tree Audio to produce and record the EP. 

Wild Roses’ next goal is to expand beyond Nebraska and play out of state. They hope to tour solo or find another band to collaborate with.

“If it’s something that fills your bucket, then do it,” Swenson said. “If it’s with a group of people that you really enjoy spending time with and enjoy making music together, then that’s where the magic is.”

The band’s next performance is at 7 p.m. at The Other Side on May 11th. People can buy tickets in advance for $10 by messaging Wild Roses on Facebook or Instagram @wildrosesband. 

Wild Roses is also competing to perform at The Fairest Showdown: Battle of the Bands for The Nebraska State Fair. Voting ends April 18 and can be done at https://www.statefair.org/the-fairest-showdown-battle-of-the-bands-voting/.