New Frontier Ruckus Video, “Black Holes”

Frontier Ruckus
Image Courtesy of Frontier Ruckus

US based nu-folk quartet Frontier Ruckus have just released their brand new video for the track “Black Holes”. The video features footage of the band from the present inter-cut with camcorder footage from their past. “Black Holes” is taken from Frontier Ruckus’ album Eternity of Dimming which was released at the beginning of the year – check out the video below:

Frontier Ruckus Announce Third Album “Eternity of Dimming”

Image courtesy of Frontier Ruckus

Detroit folk rockers Frontier Ruckus are a great example of what we aspire to connect our readers with here at Timber & Steel. Considered, inspired, and unashamedly personal- it’s old fashioned imagery-spun storytelling with the contemporary sensibility to carry it to a wide and young audience. Frontier Ruckus’  sophomore album was a tremendous feat, propelling them further up the American festival line ups to a point where they are now associated with the finest in Americana.

Not many details have been released about the album yet, besides its title- Eternity of Dimming. Recent interviews with frontman Mathew Malia suggest that the album will be finished in February, and may well be released as a double album. Listen to the title track below.

Watch Frontier Ruckus Play New Song “If The Summer”

Image courtesy of Frontier Ruckus

Frontier Ruckus have been very active with their live-session recording, which I for one, thank them for whole-heartedly. I post a lot of sessions. I just love the format. It makes our love of sharing music so easy, and gives audiences all the insight of an interview and a gig for free and from wherever they happen to be in the world. Which is handy, because who knows if Frontier Ruckus will ever come to Australia?

LansingMusic TV is another small production I’ve never heard of, but they do a good job in capturing this new and unreleased song. As explained in the video- the band is playing in the dormitory where singer Matthew Milia lived  for a couple of years, which he revisits with a song about revisiting the very same time/place. Apt indeed, Matthew.

The Greatest Ever Day of Daytrotter? New Sessions From The Low Anthem & Frontier Ruckus

Image courtesy of Daytrotter

Yesterday (March 1st, 2011) may prove to be the greatest ever on day-of-trotter. The kings of live studio sessions managed to schedule and release sessions from two of Timber & Steel’s most loved artists in one day. The Low Anthem last caught up with Daytrotter in 2009 to record some songs from their then new album Oh My God, Charlie Darwin, and again, with yesterday’s session (click here for session) they’ve given music lovers around the world a sample of their latest album, Smart Flesh, which was only just released. Frontier Ruckus, like The Low Anthem, have previously recorded a session with Daytrotter– a session that was very popular and made the 2010 Reader’s Choice list. Although Frontier Ruckus have not released another album since their famous session just over a year ago, the up-and-coming indie-bluegrass progressionists offered a new selection of songs, including some personal favourites of mine (click here for session). As always, you can listen to and download all the sessions for free via the website.

Free Download: Frontier Ruckus Offer Free Valentines Day Track


Image courtesy of Frontier Ruckus

After discovering Frontier Ruckus late last year, and exploring their back-catalogue in depth, I’m more than comfortable in saying that this band is something special. Their bluegrassy folk tunes are made all the more rich by fantastically poetic lyricism. Never once have I heard the combination fail or fall short. For Valentines Day, they offer us a cover of The Everly Brothers song “Like Strangers”. Be quick, I’m not sure how long this gift will be available. The full blog entry for the release can be read here, or follow this link straight to the facebook page, where the song is being distributed.

Spotlight On: William Elliott Whitmore

Image courtesy of William Elliott Whitmore

Don’t you just love it when an artist’s voice in no way matches their appearance? I was expecting William Elliott Whitmore to be a 50 something overweight African-American with greying stubble and a limp. Instead I found a skinny 30 something man with white skin regularly interrupted by bad-ass tattoos. A musical anomaly, there is no doubt; this honky’s got soul.

William Elliott Whitmore produces bluesy, soulful folk songs made unique by his deep and raspy voice, which comes with all the persuasion of a bygone era. I find Whitmore‘s music to be well balanced. With a voice such as his it would be easy to get bogged down in re-creationism, which could only lead to becoming gimmicky and stale. Like a lot of the music I enjoy, Whitmore does new things with old flavours. A particular favourite of mine is the song “Mutiny”, which is the first track from his 2009 album Animals in the Dark. The 4 minute song is made up of entirely vocals and percussion, and is themed around the age-old idea of the masses overthrowing tyranny. How often is a song actually convincing enough to empower a person, and for a fleeting moment, restore one’s belief in humanity? I must say, after one listen I was ready for revolution. The beauty of it is that Whitmore is not just another old guy in your local pub showing off his old-time stylings to half a dozen drunken, disenchanted men; Whitmore‘s music actually stands tall enough on its own right to be enjoyed by a young and global audience. Proof of this is his touring with the likes of City & Colour, Frank Turner, The Pogues and Frontier Ruckus.

Whitmore still lives on the family farm in Iowa where he was born, and apparently receives most of his inspiration whilst out working the land (which brings a whole new meaning to the term “roots music”). Having been a recording artist for over a decade, it looks as though William Elliott Whitmore‘s best years are ahead of him. His latest release is my favourite one, and the incredible sharing power of the internet will ensure that Whitmore‘s remote and isolated habitat should cast no hindrance on the success of his future releases.

Country of Origin: America

Sounds Like: Ray Charles with a banjo

File Under: Americana, Roots, Soul, Blues, Folk



Folk Artists Feature In Daytrotter Reader’s Choice 2010

Image courtesy of Daytrotter

Most people who would take time to read this music blog would have probably heard of Daytrotter Sessions. For those who haven’t- Daytrotter gets a lot of artists (both reputable and unknown) to come into their studios and record live sets. The sessions are then put up on the website (along with what looks like creepy fan art), where the tracks are free to listen and download. The beauty of it, from the artist’s perspective, is that because Daytrotter have a reputation of getting in really good acts, a lot of people follow it, and there’s a great deal of potential exposure for the hopeful musician.

To come up with the reader’s choice list for 2010, Daytrotter opened up the voting to listeners for an entire month. To see the full list, follow this link. The folk artists featured in the list of 20 are below. They link to their respective Daytrotter session.

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

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