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Michigan Images Populate Band's Music

of the Oakland Press

» See more SOUND CHECK

If Frontier Ruckus’ sophomore album, “Deadmalls & Nightfalls,” sounds like a Metro Detroit and Michigan travelogue, that’s entirely by design.

Frontman and chief songwriter Matthew Milia, who grew up in Keego Harbor, graduated from Brother Rice High School and Michigan State University and now resides in West Bloomfield Township, says that a sense of place is “really the most important part of ... and what motivates my writing. I really only write songs when I’m home, ’cause that’s what inspired me the most. Some random intersection or parking lots, seemingly mundane, will have a memory attached to it that inspires a whole story for a song.

“All of our songs are so obsessively nostalgic; everything that’s ever happened is so spun around and just inextricably bound to the landmarks of where I came from. So the more I chronicle everything that happened, the more I feel safe they’ll be with me forever and not fade into the vague blackness.”

And even though it’s so Michigan-specific, Frontier Ruckus’ folky, Americana-flavored music is drawing national attention — and acclaim. Milia’s goal now is to add to that body of work; he’s particularly looking forward to the end of the group’s current tour so that he can start working on the “tons of ideas” he’s accumulated on the road.

“Bob Dylan was the first person that really convinced me or motivated me into thinking about the benefits of being prolific,” Milia, 24, explains, “never stopping the unceasing dynamism of writing and not being afraid of ambition and putting out as much as we can. Neil Young as well — the same as Bob Dylan, with huge catalogs of possibilities and diversity.

“I hope I get to a point one day when I have enough respect I can (mess) with my fans — or have enough fans to mess with.”

Frontier Ruckus performs with the Ragbirds and others Friday, Aug. 13, at the Magic Stick, 4120 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10. Call 313-833-9700 or visit www.majesticdetroit.com.

Web Site: www.majesticdetroit.com

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