Life, brothers, and good old drinking songs: RJ Nordlund on Oshkosh and leaving


RJ Nordlund joined the Oshkosh community in 2016 when he was hired by Bare Bones Brewery to serve as head brewmaster. He brought with him a love of hops and his guitar.  Within the next 8 weeks, Nordlund will have taken these passions with him to Montague, MI, where he and business partner Jason Jaekel are planning to open their own brewpub, North Grove Brewers.

Before leaving Oshkosh, Nordlund has one final Oshkosh music show scheduled this Thursday, June 7, 2018 at Fletch’s Tap House as part of the Independent Racket Nights series.  The night also features Tyler & the Streeters (Appleton), The Wisconsin Magic, and Noell Kaylene.  Music starts at 7:30pm, with no cover.

We caught up with RJ to talk about his music, moving, and his final Oshkosh show:

OI: Talk about your music and the inspiration behind it:

Nordlund: I think my music is honest, with songs of struggle as well as triumph. Life experience is the greatest inspiration for me. I can’t write about something that I haven’t experienced first hand. In some cases the songs help me cope with certain experiences or hardship. Others deal with relationships I’ve had. And sometimes I like to just write a good old drinking song.

OI: Are you planning to continue playing in Michigan?

Nordlund: I will definitely keep playing in Michigan, though I might take a little break at first while I get settled back in to the scene over there. I will definitely come back through the valley and play now and then. I have made great friendships and that alone will keep me coming back to town but if I can snag a show to go with the visits I will.

OI: Talk about your move.

Nordlund: I’m moving home to Montague to open North Grove Brewers. It’s been a dream of mine for years and I’ve been given a great opportunity to work with some friends from home to make this a reality.  The people here in Oshkosh have been very kind to me, so there’s that. Honestly though, I’m going to miss the restaurants here haha. I love going to Pete’s, Ratch & Debs, Manila, South of the Border, Red’s, LaSures, and so many more that I’m blanking.

OI: Thoughts on your last Oshkosh show?

Nordlund: Honestly I haven’t played many shows in the city of Oshkosh, but I have played a lot in the Valley. Fletch’s is a really cool spot and I’m excited to play it there. I have been fortunate to play with a great group of guys, Taylor Greenwood, Brian Jacobs, Max Jones and Timmy McIlree. I love those guys and they are like brothers. It’s great to play in a band with your friends and that is what I will remember most about this group. Cheers!

Here is an interview with RJ on brewing by Lee Reiherzer:

Learn more about Bare Bones at


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Justin R. Mitchell

Justin is the founding editor of the Oshkosh Independent.

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