Spotlight On: Frontier Ruckus

Image courtesy of Frontier Ruckus

Oh how I wish I discovered Frontier Ruckus prior to contributing my top 5 albums of 2010 to Timber & Steel. In all seriousness, after a couple of listens to this album I was willing to shove one or two of the top 5 I chose out of the way. I’d describe Frontier Ruckus as a more traditionally American-folk version Mumford & Sons, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this act from Michigan, USA blows up in much the same way.

Comparing an act to Mumford & Sons is dangerous. It’s almost an impossible act to live up to. I recall being at an Australia Day party this year when their single “Little Lion Man” was announced as number one at the end of Triple J’s Hottest 100 countdown. The backyard turned into a free-for-all moshpit of more than 100 people crammed together dancing about, hugging and singing all the words in ecstasy. Never did I expect folk music could initiate such a ruckus, but I think Frontier Ruckus are more than capable of effecting people in this manner as well. With their quick-paced and heartfelt songs, they evoke an exceptionally illusive epic feeling that can’t easily be explained; a feeling that Mumford & Sons are all too proficient in conjuring. I’ve embedded their song “Nerves of the Nightmind” (track 1 from the 2010 album Deadmalls & Nightfalls) below, which best exemplifies what I’ve been talking about here. You’ll also be pleased to know that Frontier Ruckus are no one-trick-pony. Their guitar and banjo driven ballads, which occupy a significant portion of their recordings, are equally as enjoyable.

The band, which began with singer/guitarist Matthew Milia and banjo player David Winston Jones in 2003, has expanded to a six piece, including drums, trumpet, melodica, bass and most interestingly; musical saw. They have released two albums and two EPs now. Their latest release Deadmalls and Nightfalls is extraordinary, and I’m assuming my copy of the 2LP bundle of the 2008 album The Orion Songbook and the 2009 EP Way Upstate and the Crippled Summer, pt. 1, which should be on its way to me in the mail now, will be in the same vein. If their song “Dark Autumn Hour” (also embedded below) is anything to go by, this act’s back-catalogue will give a lot of enjoyment for years to come. Singer Matthew Milia’s lyrical prowess is just so enjoyable to listen to. He’s the kind of wordsmith that could publish just an album booklet and sell a million copies. Just read the biography on the facebook page.

Frontier Ruckus are touring non-stop at the start of 2011 throughout America. Hopefully they enjoy some success in Australia so they have a reason to tour.

Country of Origin: USA
Sounds Like: Mumford & Sons, Laura Marling, The Tallest Man On Earth
File Under: Alt-country, Folk, Bluegrass

1 Comment

  1. December 31, 2010 at 11:36

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by miladyred. miladyred said: RT @timberandsteel: Check out our spotlight on American band frontier ruckus if you're a fan of Mumford style folk. […]

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