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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

What to Do Tonight: Frontier Ruckus

Posted By on Wed, Feb 3, 2010 at 8:15 AM

Suburban Detroit is not a conventional birthplace for one of the new century’s most exciting folk-rock bands, but that hasn’t stopped Frontier Ruckus from embracing their roots. The group’s 2008 debut is a song cycle about the Michigan town of Orion. Frontman Matthew Milia seamlessly blends some interesting influences — a little Lambchop here, some Neutral Milk Hotel there. The whole thing remains grounded in pretty traditional folk, highlighted by the capable banjo of Milia’s childhood friend and bandmate David Jones. The Orion Songbook is a lived-in record that highlights Milia’s warm, nasal tenor and superb melodic sense on tracks like the intricate “The Blood” and the almost poppy “Dark Autumn Hour.” Zachary Nichols is the group’s multi-instrumentalist and secret weapon. His singing functions as a spooky substitute for pedal steel on album highlight “Rosemont.” The five-piece band has been building momentum on the road and released a follow-up EP last year. You can expect Milia and crew to offer sneak peaks from their forthcoming album when they play the Beachland Tavern (15711 Waterloo Rd., 216.383.1124, Hoots & Hellmouth and White Pines open at 8:30 p.m. Tickets: $8. — Chris Drabick

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