Album Review: "The Folk Frontier"

By Benjamin Kelly

Not every band that comes out of Detroit is rap, doo-wop, or rock and roll. In 2003, Mo-town produced a band that fits none of the previous genres: Frontier Ruckus. Hailing from metro Detroit, Matthew Milia and David Winston Jones decided to come together to create a lyrically driven, bluegrass, folk-rock band with the easily recognizable voice of lead vocalist Milia and the instrumentals of Jones.

In 2009, the band departed from its former label and signed with Ramseur Records which holds clients such as the Avett Brothers and Samantha Crain. In 2010 the band produced its latest album, “Dead Malls and Night Falls” from which the Globe features songs such as “The Upper Room” and “Ringbearer.” Jones’ banjo brings out the band’s bluegrass origins while Milia’s lyrics, partially inspired by his poetry professor at Michigan State University, American poet Diane Wakoski, give the album a unique and real feeling.

The lyrics of this album are the best part. Milia crafts words together in such a story-like matter that one can actually feel the emotion being portrayed in his voice. “The Upper Room,” the ballad of the album, has lyrics so open for interpretation that the love story Milia describes can leave the listener with multiple emotions.

The band is currently on tour, and if you missed their latest show in South Bend last Thursday don’t worry. The Michigan band will be back in their home area soon enough with shows in Kalamazoo and Lansing at the end of the summer. If you are looking for a good road trip, head to Scottown, Ohio and catch Frontier Ruckus at the Appalachian Uprising Bluegrass Festival June 2-4.

Check out “Dead Malls & Night Falls” from an original Mo-Town band, Frontier Ruckus on 91.1 the Globe or globeradio.org.

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