A lot of good musicians have hailed from Michigan over the years – Jackie Wilson, aka Mr. Excitement, Del Shannon, Glenn Frey, Smokey Robinson, Gregg Alexander, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, and Bob Seeger, just to name a few from a seemingly endless list. And when it comes to groups, Michigan gave us Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels, the Supremes, Rare Earth, and Grand Funk Railroad.
And let us not forget Frontier Ruckus. The Michigan based band released its first full-length album in 2008, and are now set to release album number six. The video for the title track has dropped to promote the upcoming album, with more videos promised in advance of the February 16, 2024 release date.
The title song, as well as all the other songs that make up On The Northline, is crafted to form “a singularly detailed representation of the glorious yet grim minutiae of Midwestern suburban life.” It is this type of detail that has become a trademark of the Frontier Ruckus catalog.
Yet despite hailing from the Midwest and Detroit, Michigan in particular, On The Northline was not inspired by images of a bus or rail line. According to the group’s main songwriter, Matthew Milia, the inspiration came in part from “the North Country of upstate New York—where the Thousand Islands pepper the St. Lawrence Seaway—and where my dad’s side of the family somehow landed from Sicily in the early 1900s.”
Milia says, “I love constructing blurry geographies in my songwriting.”
Those blurry geographies have us venturing through dark jungles of introspection, to sunny lands of hope and prosperity, sailing overseas contentment, and riding restlessly into the sunset. In addition to the title song, “Swore I Had A Friend,” “Everywhere But Beside You,” “Mercury Sable,” and the short but tender “First Song For Lauren” stand out.
Frontier Ruckus is Matthew Milia, banjo player David Jones, and Zachary Nichols on trumpet. Ostensibly a folk group, they chronicle life in suburbia rather than tales of rambling, drink, and regret.