These Moonpies pair infinitely better with Lone Star beer than RC Cola but they are no less traditional. Traditional country music, that is.
This past Wednesday night my friend Shelley and I ventured out to Austin’s venerable honky-tonk, The Broken Spoke to checkout redhot local sensation, Mike and The Moonpies. Between the timeless setting at the Spoke (which once inside might be the one view in Austin that hasn’t changed an iota in the 13-years I’ve lived here) and the classic Texas sound of the band, we both commented that it could have been Austin in 1973 instead of 2013. These young twenty-somethings are truly on to something as they delivered fresh, original dancehall music with all the best trappings of the past: bluesy danceable country, clever lyrics and plenty of steel.
Not only do they sound like Austin is supposed to sound, they just look so damn Austin…everything about it made me proud:
Blur your eyes and pretend this picture was taken in 1973. Couldn’t we be back at the Armadillo World Headquarters? Sigh for times gone by…
But we’re not. We are right here and right now and I love knowing young talent from Texas towns near and far are still making the pilgrimage to Austin to be a part of this music scene. Leader singer, Mike Harmeier, was kind enough to sit down with me before the show and give me an interview for my book. You’ll have to wait for it to be published to read all the details, which are going into Chapter 24, but I will go ahead and share that I really enjoyed talking with Mike. He has been making music diligently since graduating high school in 2002 and I was blown away by his focus and discipline over the past decade. Having grown up listening to Texas country and Stevie Ray Vaughn he learned to play blues guitar at the age of 8. He had a solo gig at age 13 covering George Strait and Clint Black tunes. He’s played the blues, indie rock and traditional country. And has spent time teaching himself to play piano, lap steel and write plenty of songs.
The best part of all? These guys look like they are having a hell of a good time. They opened for Gary P. Nunn at Gruene Hall last week. And having just signed with the Red11 Agency out of Nashville, they hope to open more big shows and reach a wider audience.
No $hit yall, I think they are going to catapult. If you are in Austin, go see them live as soon as possible so you and I can lord it over other people’s heads down the line and banter, “Damn, I remember seeing them back in the day…” If you’re not in Austin, look for them to travel somewhere nearby. And here are some good songs to explore on iTunes or Spotify to get a taste of the Moonpie flavor I know you’re already craving:
Bands that play the Spoke typically do a few covers of traditional country…Bob Wills, Willie, Merle, Buck Owns…all of which I love of course. But I have to say Shelley and I both really enjoyed some of the more unexpected covers they picked:
“Cherokee Fiddle” by Johnny Lee (you have no idea how hard I had to restrain myself not to jump up on stage and sing the female backup part to this song!)
“Before The Next Teardrop Falls” by Freddy Fender (yes, I have been known to passionately sing the Spanish verse of this song to a party of people even though I don’t speak Spanish and I made up everything I was singing.)
“All You Ever Do Is Bring Me Down” by the Mavericks (Got me thinking. Maybe I should set aside my well honed air-fiddle skills and take on the air-accordion.)
If I have effectively worked you into a lather and you just can’t wait any longer, here’s a snippet of video I took from the other night. I needed a helmet and pads for safety to venture out onto the dance floor to get this shot as the hardwood floors were packed, as usual, with people two-stepping and swinging the night away. The spoke was hoppin’ on a Wednesday! I love this town. And this band. Take a look…
Mike, a special thank you for taking the time to let me interview you. Fun getting to know you and learning more about your music.
Moonpies, thanks for a great show at one of my all-time favorite Austin institutions. And thanks for making a Wednesday rock.
Friends, run don’t walk! Order yourself up some Moonpie straight up with a beer back. Your head might ache a little in the morning, but you won’t regret the good time.
(Copyright 2013 by Christine Warren)