Iron Range rock-and-roll linchpin Rich Mattson has been writing, recording and performing with partner Germaine Gemberling in a group called the Northstars since 2014. Based at their Sparta Sound studio, the pair create shiny, jangly, country-coated songs inspired by giants like Neil Young, Tom Petty and X. The Northstars currently include drummer Chris Petrack, bassist Kyle Westrick and newcomer Dan Anderson on keys. In 2022, the group released its sixth album, a 10-track longplayer called Out There. The album departs from previous “cosmic-folk” efforts into a more edgy, Americana-ablaze sound.