Mike and the Moonpies
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Mike and the Moonpies

Austin, Texas, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2007 | SELF

Austin, Texas, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2007
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In an ideal world, there would be no need for an information portal such as SavingCountryMusic.com. The best of the genre would naturally be foisted to the front of the line. The brightest prospects would enjoy the biggest spotlight on their way up. And those that preserve the roots and show respect and admiration for those who came before them would have that respect and admiration reciprocated by the fans and powers that be, just as it often was in previous eras.

But unfortunately a discrepancy exists between quality and popularity, substance and support, and this permeates throughout the country genre, not just in the mainstream. Even in the independent realm and Americana, often it is who you know, how you’re slotted, and where the hype is focused that chooses who receives the sweet blessing of popular attention, while some of the most potent music remains obfuscated and hard to find.

Perhaps Mike and the Moonpies are the greatest true country band out there right now. They at least deserve to be in that discussion. But what is hard to argue is that Mike and the Moonpies are the band out there right now where the quality of their music, the infectiousness of the vibe, and the enthusiasm, attitude, and heart they expend in their music is woefully out-of-whack with how many people know about them.

This truth was patently evident when they released their latest record Steak Night at the Prairie Rose recently, putting themselves right in the mix for early Album of the Year consideration. And at Mile 0 Fest in Key West, Florida this weekend, they proved the positive reception for the record wasn’t just the result of studio magic.

At their small club show at Durty Harry’s on the infamous Duval St. Thursday night (2-8), and then on their main stage slot at the Truman Waterfront Amphitheater Friday (2-9), Mike and the Moonpies exemplified why they’re worth whatever accolades anyone chooses to send their way. Since they’re so tied to the Texas honky tonks, they just haven’t had an opportunity yet to cultivate a more national and international narrative like the Turnpike Troubadours, or Cody Jinks. But when it comes to the music—live or recorded—they give nothing up to any other act.

As good as their record is, the harmonic melodies between the steel guitar, lead guitar, and keyboard, Mike’s scrappy attitude and funny quips on the mic, along with the attack and upbeat passion they bring to their music is nearly unparalleled live. No, they’re not a songwriter’s “cry in your beer” band that will give you “feels” on every song. But as an authentic Texas honky tonk beer joint band, they bring entertainment value pound for pound right up there with anybody in true country.

It’s been a slow burn for Mike and the Moonpies. They’re heading toward a decade now in the business. But the time might be right for them to take their act out of the Texas honky tonks and to a bigger audience. If their shows at Mile 0 Fest were any indication, it couldn’t happen soon enough. - Saving Country Music


The romantic notion of what an old school honky tonk band from Texas should be has been used to stoke fantasies and fill television and movie screens for years. It’s also been a template for Music Row-molded fashion plates to play dress up and role play the part for many patently unaware fans. But putting your finger on the actual embodiment of a Texas two-step honky tonk band who can play covers and originals for four hours non stop and make it look easy—and all while looking cool themselves—is a little more myth than reality. Yes, there are many smoky bars and wooden dance floors throughout the Lone Star State. And there are many cover and original bands that play them. And then there’s Mike and the Moonpies.

Ahead of the release of their latest album Steak Night at the Prairie Rose, Mike and the Moonpies didn’t pay for pampered and catered photo shoots featuring a plethora of vintage swag from the finest stores between the coasts. The Moonpies put their new record on in the jukebox of a tiny local Austin watering hole called the Deep Eddy Cabaret and had a party for their close friends and fans. Mike and the Moonpies weren’t the beneficiaries of big production documentary vignettes sponsored by Ram Trucks to help promote their record, their CD release party was at Sam’s Town Point, which is a pier and beam shack in a south Austin neighborhood owned by a fellow musician named Ramsay Midwood. They served steaks at the party to match the album’s steak night theme.

While some artists attempting to emulate the mystique of an authentic Austin, TX honky-tonk band are trying to pass themselves off as paying dues by opening arena shows for Sam Hunt, ahead of Steak Night at the Prairie Rose, Mike and the Moonpies stayed true to their circuit of authentic Texas roadhouses and dance halls, hawking their new album face to face with fans, many of whom they knew on a first name basis from having toured through their towns for years, offering true country music entertainment to hard-working and sometimes remote communities who are appreciative of their efforts at the end of a long week.

It’s the local flavor, the authenticity, the dedication to themselves, their fans, the music, and the true-to-life dues paid by Mike and the Moonpies that make them darn near the perfect embodiment of the Austin, TX dance hall and dive bar band so many want to emulate, but so few want to put in the sweat or make the sacrifices to actually become. And with such a salivating appetite for authenticity now stirring out there among the country music listening pubic, it’s time for Mike and the Moonpies to step out of the shadows of being considered an undercard band of the Texas music circuit, a “poor man’s Turnpike Troubadours” as some have referred to them in the past, and be hoisted forward as just about the perfect example of what a true Texas country dancehall band is all about. It also happens to be that Steak Night at the Prairie Rose is about the perfect record to do that with.
There are many bands and artists out there doing the throwback country thing, but none of them are doing it like this. There is a cavalcade of performing artists in their Nudie finery putting on Howdy Doodie shows in east Nashville and LA’s Echo Park. There is no shortage of Waylon-sounding reenactors with their half-time drum beats and Telecaster phase tearing up the biker bar circuit. But who is taking up the charge of preserving that era in country music when the Outlaw thing was losing its luster, and the “Class of ’89” was still in the offing? Heretofore, there wasn’t really anyone, at least in the younger generation. Now there’s Mike and the Moonpies.

But Steak Night at the Prairie Rose is not a period piece. Attempting to re-create the jukebox era of country may be an underlying theme of the record, but Mike and the Moonpies will always be a dancehall band. It’s combining these two things that make this record not just another neotraditional effort, or simply a representation of new material they’ve worked up recently for the live show. Steak Night at the Prairie Rose takes a snapshot of a time and place so expertly that it’s one of those records that stimulates a flood of memory and nostalgia, and most importantly, the warm and home-like feeling these emotions deliver.

Bandleader and singer Mike Harmeier doesn’t write songs like Tyler Childers, or Evan Felker. This is not deeply-introspective and nuanced poetry, because that’s not what the true essence of Texas honky-tonk music is all about. It’s more rust and leather, reminiscing and reality, though poetic in its own right. Ultimately, the task of a honky tonk band is to entertain, and that’s what songs like “Road Crew,” “Might Be Wrong,” and “Getting High At Home” do.

But Mike has also penned the perfect tune to encapsulate the type of life they live, and the world where they come from in the title track of this record. It’s one of those songs that is so deeply personal in its story, you feel like you’re living in it when you listen. You can see yourself sitting right there at the Prairie Rose, taking in a country cover band, the fatty leftover carcass of a Grade B sirloin growing cold in front of you on the table, and having a ball with all the old familiar folks in a place that feels as warm as home.

Enough can’t be made of the musicianship The Moonpies bring to the table behind Mike Harmeier, crafting these slick, melodically-composed, multi-layered runs with the combination of lead guitar, pedal steel—and one of the signatures of the Moopies sound—the old-school organ that makes for a triple-threat attack of twang and melody. And everything moves. Don’t forget, this is dance music. So there’s no let up. Everything sways. You just want to keep getting out of your seat.

The first half of this record felt a little stronger than the second, and since the songs here are not these deep, thematic movements of verse, some in the Americana and critically-acclaimed independent country world might be apt to overlook what Mike and the Moonpies have accomplished here. But Steak Night at the Prairie Rose is the local, authentic flavor with the appeal to fill a national appetite for something real. - Saving Country Music


Mike Harmeier loves being on the road. In 2017, he and his band, Mike & the Moonpies, played over 180 shows. This year, they plan on pushing that number beyond 200. But it's only when this road warrior stops – usually at his mother- and father-in-law's 27-acre ranch outside Austin, Texas – that he really finds the peace of mind that he's looking for.
"There's a fishing hole down the road. I'll go sit there sometimes. Anything to capture that fleeting moment," says Harmeier, relaxing beneath an overhang attached to the one-room building on his wife's family's property where he does most of his songwriting. "There's that thing you get when you're cruising in your truck with the windows down and you listen to that certain right song. You just get that moment you're looking for that you haven't felt in five, maybe 10 years. That's when it happens, man."

On the Moonpies' latest LP, Steak Night at the Prairie Rose, Harmeier chases his muse all the way back to his earliest days as a performer. Named for the bar in the Houston suburbs where Harmeier got his start playing a weekly residency at the age of 14, the album – the band's fifth, out today – channels the honky-tonk romanticism first nurtured when a young Harmeier came face-to-face with his country music heroes through his father's work with the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.

"I write a lot about my family for some reason. I don't see my family that much, I'm not really that connected to them, but I tend to write about them a lot. I might be trying to recapture some of that still," Harmeier says. When his parents divorced, Clint Black's brother, Brian, himself a musician, rented an extra room in Harmeier's father's house. "This guy was playing shows all the time and had a tour bus parked outside, and that was it for me. I was like, 'OK, this is what I'm fucking doing,'" he says, laughing.

The Moonpies' last studio album, 2015's Mockingbird, delved into his roots, taking its inspiration from his father and grandfather. He even owns a 1985 Chevy Silverado, similar to one that his father drove when he was growing up. But on Steak Night he wanted to shift the focus away from himself and onto the band dynamic, something he began working toward with Live at WinStar World Casino & Resort, which was released the year after Mockingbird.

"There are so many bootlegs of us playing live, but we're always drunk as shit and sound terrible," Harmeier says. Much as he cut his teeth playing cover songs for three to four hours a night, live music is in the Moonpies' DNA. They got their start over a decade ago playing a weekly dance night at Austin's Hole in the Wall, eventually upgrading to larger venues like White Horse and the legendary Broken Spoke. "I knew before [Live at WinStar] that I wanted to do something live sounding for the next studio record, so it was kind of a conditioning thing for the band to get used to hearing what they're doing off the cuff," he says.

The band reunited with producer Adam Odor for Steak Night, who had first manned the booth on the live album. For Harmeier, who met several of his bandmates through his production work when he first moved to Austin, it was the first time he hadn't been behind the controls himself. "This time I wanted to give it all away, just be a member of the band," he says. "It lets everyone in the band do what they're best at, and that way I can do what I'm best at, which is writing the fucking songs."

The results were a revelation. "I feel like we're a band now more than ever," he says. "The band sounds like what we were supposed to sound like this whole time." From the load-in rush of "Road Crew" that opens the album to the woozy boogie of "We're Gone" that closes it, Steak Night is a boot-scooting rave-up that crisscrosses the country music map, as much Bakerfield as it is New Braunfels. Cut in only five days at Yellow Dog Studios in Wimberley outside Austin, it hurtles through some of Harmeier's sharpest storytelling, including the Elvis-in-Vegas vamp "Beaches of Biloxi," which he says is his favorite that he's ever written.

None may be more representative than the title track, the most clearly autobiographical song on the album. "'Steak Night' is a song I think I've been trying to write for a really long time. A lot of songs over our records, there's a lot of lineage there, songs I was trying to write on [one] record but didn't get it till the next record," Harmeier says. "Sunday," from 2012's Hard Way, was another spin on the same concept. "'Steak Night' became the pinnacle in that regard. I don't have to write that song anymore."

There's a lived-in truth embedded in Steak Night's 10 songs, and not just because of Harmeier's past. It's the sound of a band that's spent years logging the hard miles, always a little out of step with a frat-friendly Texas country scene. The Moonpies managed to carve their own niche, even if it too has come with its own set of expectations. "It's kind of biting me in the ass now," Harmeier says wryly. "We created this monster of a country dance thing, but now we want to play rock clubs and want people up front. Especially in Austin, the dancers are very much attached to us."

Yet Harmeier knows there are far worse problems to have. After all, he and the Moonpies get to spend most their time on the road — and, when they get the occasional break, he knows where to go to write it all down. "There is something about the routine [of touring]. I like the whole idea of getting in a van and going to some different town. But the coolest thing about it to me has always been the random stories that happen on the road," Harmeier says. "I have this book of stories now that a lot of people don't have. I want to keep adding to it." - Rolling Stone Country


Amid all the hand-wringing by traditionalists over authenticity, “true” country and various anointed country music saviors, one facet of the conversation has been lost in the country shuffle: maybe country music doesn’t need saving at all. After all, it’s in good hands with Texas honky tonkers Mike and the Moonpies.

The band just released their fifth album Steak Night at the Prairie Rose (out Feb. 2), a collection of hard-won tales of wild nights, loss, regret and chasing down dreams. It’s a lot of what country music needs, but it’s also a reminder that the music of old-soul country troubadours never really went away.

Mike and the Moonpies lead vocalist Mike Harmeier says the band isn’t concerned with how people want to label them, just as long as they come to the shows.

“There’s a huge genre argument that’s been happening now for a few years. Everybody loves to get in on it and compare us to other people and that’s just not the game we play,” Harmeier tells Wide Open Country. “This is just the way that this band is. We’re not trying to be traditional. We just are that way. We play shows to 10 people and we play shows to 100 people. It doesn’t really matter. We’re going to do whatever we’re going to do. I couldn’t care less what people want to classify it as. I just want you to come listen to the record and buy a ticket to the shows.”

The album’s title track is based on Harmeier’s own upbringing in Tomball, Texas, from his first gig at 14 at the Prairie Rose in nearby Pinehurst, Texas to meeting his musical heroes when they came through town for the Houston Rodeo. (Harmeier’s father is a member of the Houston Rodeo.)

“That was everything that I did as a kid. I knew forever that this is what I wanted to do and I was fortunate enough to have my parents be very supportive of that and my dad being connected in some ways to help me get gigs,” Harmeier says. “I was very, very lucky to be surrounded by a lot of musicians that my dad knew through the Houston Rodeo. For me, there was nothing else that I wanted to do. Being surrounded by those people and seeing how everything worked and the real side of that, rather than just watching CMT or whatever, I was really a part of it back then. It really kept me going and kept me inspired to keep trying to make it happen.”

And it has happened for Mike and the Moonpies. Since the release of their 2010 debut The Real Country, band members Catlin Rutherford (guitar), Kyle Ponder (drums), Preston Rhone (bass), Zachary Moulton (steel guitar) and John Carbone (keys) have taken the Texas scene by storm with gigs at the Broken Spoke, Floore’s Country Store and just about every historic Texas dance hall that’s still standing. Now the band is gearing up to set out on their first European tour after spending the better part of the last five years taking their Texas-born honky tonk to the rest of the continental U.S.

Harmeier says the years spent in the dance halls helped the band shape their sound to every crowd, something that comes in handy when they cross the Red River.

“We kind of figured out how to keep people dancing all night and that was a really cool thing we got to do,” Harmeier says. “I’m really fortunate for all the dancers that attached themselves to us and came out and supported us. Now as we’ve evolved and we’ve played different types of places all around the country, like rock clubs and little dive bars, tailoring our shows to every club is really important to me.”

Steak Night at the Prairie Rose was recorded over five days at Yellow Dog Studios in Wimberly, Texas. Producer Adam Odor captured the freewheeling live feel of the band’s shows.

“I wanted to do a record that was just letting the band do whatever they wanted to,” Harmeier says. “Our previous records I knew exactly the way I wanted it to sound. I knew the parts I wanted and where I wanted everything. This time I just wanted to let the band and producer have free reign and do whatever they wanted to do. I think it let everybody have a lot more fun doing it.”

The album kicks off with the rollicking “Road Crew,” an ode to the roadies and road dogs who make the magic happen. They keep up the tempo for the bawdy “Might Be Wrong” and slow down for a slick ’80s country groove on the down-and-out “Beaches of Biloxi.”

The irresistible “Wedding Band” would sound right at home on early 90s country radio and cleverly tips its hat to the greats — Randy Travis, Gary Stewart, John Anderson and Conway Twitty, among others.

Playing country music for the love of country music is a theme echoed throughout Steak Night at the Prairie Rose and on the recently released honky tonk lament “Country Music’s Dead” with John Baumann, in which the artists extol the virtues of playing clubs filled with disinterested bar patrons talking over the music and gigs paid in cases of beer. As Harmeier says, country music is here if you want it. Even in the hard times.

“People love to say that country music is dead and there’s not really anything going on, but they just don’t really know where to find it,” Harmeier says. “There’s a ton of bands like us that are doing this in little bars all across the country. You just have to find an outlet for country music rather than just whatever’s on your pop radio station or whatever. I just want everyone to know that there’s more than just us doing it.”

Mike and the Moonpies are currently on tour across the U.S. - Wide Open Country


From the Austin Chronicle on 8/9/2013 - The Austin Chronicle


It's a Tuesday night at Austin's Horseshoe Lounge and two members of the band Mike and the Moonpies are here to do an interview. Frontman Mike Harmeier is wearing snakeskin boots and a Dwight Yoakam trucker cap. Lead guitarist Catlin Rutherford vaguely resembles Chris Hillman when he wears a mustache, but he's just shaved it off.

Harmeier's from a suburb of Houston, and grew up going to the rodeo. He says his favorite movie is the George Strait vehicle Pure Country, but Pulp Fiction is a close second. Rutherford's family used to own a dance hall in South Texas. He recalls a time Johnny Paycheck came through and asked for a glass of water before the show; instead of drinking it, he startled everybody by plopping his dentures in. - Dallas Observer


Not too many bands would have the balls to call one of their records Real Country, but Mike and The Moonpies would probably beat the hell out of anyone who questioned the title’s legitimacy. They look like a bunch of over-indulged 1970s outlaws and we suspect their livers are already as mutated as Keith Richards’. Take the Hunter S. Thompson quote, “I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol violence or insanity, but they’ve always worked for me,” add a Texas drawl, a telecaster and steel guitar and you get this group of long-haired, bearded cowboys who are right at home on the demented pages of Turnstyled Junkpiled. They gave us a taste of their belligerent antics with their cover of Billy Joe Shaver’s “Ragged Old Truck,” and a few weeks later, they’ve arrived on our home turf. Catch them playing their down-and-out Red Dirt this Saturday and pray to god the Cinema Bar stocks up on Lone Star beer and stays open past 2 am. Of course, if you’re sober or happy, avoid these guys at all cost. But then again, if you’re sober or happy, you probably don’t want to listen country music in the first place. - Turnstyled Junkpiles


Honky-tonk music operates locally like clockwork. For starters, the Continental Club regularly hosts Heybale! (Sundays) and Dale Watson (Mondays), while the Broken Spoke boasts Chaparral (Wednesdays) and Jesse Dayton (Thursdays). Outside of South Austin, though, Mike & the Moonpies have been ruling the roost for several years now. The local outfit has self-released two albums of hard-livin' country with a rare sense of humor (see "Water on the Rocks") that goes over equally well Mondays at Hole in the Wall and unplugged on Tuesdays for happy hour at Mohawk, which also offers the Moonpie: a shot of well whiskey and a Lone Star for $3. "The songs started as jokes originally," recalls leader Mike Harmeier, a 27-year-old from outside Houston. "Then I started to get more serious ... and drinking." The band's stock has risen nationally thanks to a breakthrough session with Daytrotter and subsequent spot on the website's annual Barnstormer tour. "It doesn't matter where we play," says Harmeier. "We're a good dance band; that's what it's all about." Mike & the Moonpies break from routine next week with an appearance at Paper Cuts, the Chronicle's free live music series at the Palm Door on Tuesday, Oct. 25, sponsored by Capital Metro, Sapporo, 42Below, and Curra's Grill. RSVP and check out footage from past events at austinchronicle.com/papercuts. - Austin Powell - The Austin Chronicle


Back at the beginning of April, Marie and I visited Austin to look for an apartment for our move. Every night we’d head back to the hotel room, throw some local television on to get a flavor of the city and play cards. One of those nights, we caught a MeTV taping of Mike and the Moonpies in front of Austin City Hall. Then and for the two months following it’s been a big desire of ours that some of the first music we’d see in Austin was Mike and the Moonpies live. When we checked them out online, we also came across Leo Rondeau, who occasionally plays the same gigs as the Moonpies. We stayed to see about a half hour of Rondeau as well, and he was tremendous.

From the lyrics to their sound right down to the aesthetics of the venue, there is nothing particularly complicated about these guys, relying on a tried and true formula of Americana. Parts rock, parts country and folk, Mike and the Moonpies play with a soulful tenacity thick enough to damn near cut with a knife. There is no story necessarily needing to be told here, the music isn’t to be pondered about or thought on like a novel. This is good old fashioned, old-school, bar room blues. This is the Austin I’ve been hearing about.

The set they played was a cool mixture of some classic covers like Van Morrison’s “Caravan”, some of their older originals and some new stuff from an apparently soon-to-be released CD. And this is the essence of a great band in a small venue: I enjoyed myself at Hole in the Wall more than any other night out thus far in Austin. The set was quickly paced and relatively impersonal — they were playing for no one or nothing in particular, but nevertheless seemed to have some immeasurable connection with the small section of bar patrons. Front man Mike Harmeier possesses a calm and practiced stage presence, and the whole band has an attitude that seems to pull out all the good parts from bigger musicians under bright lights: confident expressions, dry witticisms between songs, infinite likability. These guys are something worth hearing at least once, and, somewhere between nothing and fame, touch exactly the right chords for both the loved and lonely.

I’ve heard that they are very easy-going and tremendously approachable, which is something you love to hear about any band. Marie and I spent the set with a few rounds of Lone Star and emptying our wallets into the band’s tip can, which I’d gladly do again. I told Marie over and over that I was having a great time, and somewhere in there, amidst my enjoyment, I think I might have agreed to take dance lessons.

Good music makes me agree to crazy things.
-lonestarters.com - lonestarters.com


It’s true that I, your most humble Austin Music Minute maven, Laurie Gallardo, have bragged about Mike and The Moonpies before. I’ve enthusiastically shared a few tracks from their EPs, Lyin’ (2008) and one of my faves Catalina (2009), on previous segments. They specialize in some delectable roots music that puts a pang in the hearts of those of us who prefer their country old school. Moonpies frontman Mike Harmeier has a twang that’s right at home in any honky-tonk, but the guys are just as much at home at an indie venue as they are in any two-stepping dance hall.

The Moonpies have their first full-length album most aptly titled The Real Country, ten tracks chock full of that genuine country-western vibe. (One in particular quickly became my fave - “Fish In A Barrel,” featuring guest vocals by Jenn Miori.) They’re celebrating the release with a show tonight at The Continental Club, 1315 S. Congress Ave. And I’m happy to say that this show is another one of those sweet triple bills that I fall in love with rather quickly - grimy bluegrass masters with an Appalachia/punk rawk twist, The Flatcar Rattlers, and singer-songwriter/sweet balladeer with a drawl that never fails to carry me back for more, Leo Rondeau. Everything gets underway around 10 p.m.

This one comes recommended. Get you some beers and take care of business.
-Laurie Gallardo - Texas Music Matters


The brand of country on “The Real Country,” the debut album from Mike and the Moonpies, is extremely adaptable. Some of the music, like the steady blues bounce of “Water on the Rocks” or the relaxed Southern sway of “Matrimony,” call for cordial two-stepping in an upscale dance hall. But if you were to hear the twangy romp of the title track’s steel guitar riffs at, say, the band’s Aug. 12 gig at the Mohawk, you couldn’t help spilling your Lone Star before you scuttled across the dance floor.

It’s fitting, then, that the Moonpies feel at home all over town. They’re in their element among the rough-edged rock elites on Red River, but they also held the release party for “The Real Country” at the historic Continental Club, and they’re veterans of the tiny Drag dive the Hole in the Wall. Ultimately, “The Real Country” is exactly what it claims to be — Texas country for Texans, played straight from the heart of Texas.
-Alex Daniel - Austin Statesman


Discography

-Steak Night at the Prairie Rose- 2018

-Live at Winstar World Casino & Resort- 2017

-Mockingbird- 2015

-The Hard Way- 2012

- Mike and the Moonpies EP- 2012

- The Real Country- 2010

- Catalina EP- 2009

- Lyin- 2008

Photos

Bio

Old-soul honky-tonkers, Mike and the Moonpies, are set to release Steak Night At The Prairie Rose on February 2, 2018. Coming off the critical success of 2015’s Mockingbird and the following year’s jam-packed double-disc Live at WinStar World Casino and Resort, their forthcoming and fifth studio album is not only most ambitious effort to date, but it cohesively showcases the Austin-based band’s display of irresistible, good-time spark and spirit of traditional country, classic rock sensibilities and sublime songwriting. Recorded at Yellow Dog Studios in Wimberley, Texas, Steak Night at the Prairie Rose was produced by Adam Odor and features the stellar musicianship and artistry of frontman/guitarist Mike Harmeier, guitarist Catlin Rutherford, drummer Kyle Ponder, bassist Preston Rhone, steel guitarist Zachary Moulton, and piano, organ and Wurlitzer player John Carbone. Harmeier notes that the only “concept” he had this time around was to keep the writing “simple” enough to allow the rest of the band room to really go to town. “The only thing I really wanted was for the band to just have fun playing the songs, because I wanted the album to showcase the players on top of the songs that I wrote — just like the live record did.” For this release, Harmeier wrote or co-wrote all but one of the album’s ten songs (the exception being “The Last Time” by friend Jonathan Terrell). Highlights include album opener “Road Crew,” which kicks things off at Highway Patrol- baiting speed powered by the twin-engine roar of electric twang and runaway pedal steel, and the sweepingly melodic gambler’s lament, “Beaches of Biloxi."

Band Members