By Jon Stone | @jwstone - July 7, 2010
This year Bonnaroo presented a rare opportunity for me to see a number of my favorite bands play within a few days (and sometimes hours) of each other. Since there was so much happening of interest, it didn’t leave much time for taking in new music. One band that I regrettably missed was Frontier Ruckus. They hail from an unlikely Detroit and play music that should easily please fans of Mumford & Sons, Mountain Goats, and even Calexico.
The record is full of surprises; the first one is that connection to Calexico – a triumphant horn section gives the songs a melodic tension between the South and Southwest (might we call this tension Midwestern?), one foot in the cornfields and another in the desert. There is other surprising richness here including great instrumental layering – banjos, saloon piano, and I even noticed some exceptional saw playing on several songs. The lyrics and melodies here are equally layered. This is a great summer record, one with equal parts sun and rainclouds, and one not to miss.
I look forward to getting another chance to see this band play soon. If you’re in Chicago, you can see them on July 15th at the back porch stage at the House of Blues. Frontier Ruckus’s second album, Deadmalls and Nightfalls drops July 20th on Ramseur Records.