The Moonshine

The Moonshine

 Athens, Georgia, USA

Postmodern stringband sounds replete with the interlocking rhythms of the road, the heart, and the street, set to a quixotically curious, lyrical voice.


The Moonshine is an idea on the rise. Taking the magic of the stringband as their foundation and journeying through the wilds of all music that has shaped them, this music is original and dynamic, with deep roots into Folk, Indie Rock, Oldtime, Gypsy and Cajun traditions.

After a chance meeting on a fire escape in Portland, Oregon, the husband and wife duo at the core of The Moonshine fell - luckily not off the fire escape - but instead in love, and they've been making music together since 2005. Songwriter Michael Gerard Levasseur (Michael the Blind) and multi-instrumentalist Rachael Renee'  founded the postmodern stringband The Moonshine in 2012 along with longtime bassist/musical partner J Elwood Johncox, freshly recruited gypsy/old-time fiddler Susanna Low-Beer and clawhammer banjo player Sara Wolf. Together they toured around the Western United States extensively and put out their first album in this format. In 2015 with the departure of Sarah, they brought the inimitable Maxwell Countryman Skewes into the fold to add bluegrass banjo textures. Just after releasing their second album, 2016 took Michael and Rachael across the country to Athens, Georgia, where they eventually hooked up with additional band members Rob Keller (Six String Drag) on bass, and classically trained violinist/fiddler Nicholas Lindell on fiddle. Guided by the vision of Michaels engaging lyricism and ephemeral arrangements, this shifting cast of talented Moonshiners bring their vibrating strings and vocal chords to original rock and roll songs, grassed-out rock covers, rocked-out bluegrass covers, and their indie rock take on old-time classics.

Lineup can vary according to needs and budget. Base lineup is Michael, Rachael, and Rob. 

The Moonshine have multiple fiddle players to play with and can bring banjo into the mix as well. 

Band members: 

Michael Gerard: Vocals, guitar, songwriting, whistles, effervescence
Rachael Renee': Vocals, harmonies, autoharp, mandolin, guitar, keys, shoutouts
Rob Keller: Harmonies, upright bass, slaps, zingers 
J Elwood Johncox: Harmonies, upright bass, mouth percussion, shaker 
Nicholas Lindell: Fiddle, viola 
Susanna Low-Beer: Harmonies, fiddle, viola, train whistle, puns 
Maxwell Countryman Skewes: Banjo, sassy jokes, slick moves

View our show calendar at


Never Know

Written By: Michael Gerard Levasseur

Oh you never know.
No, not for sure.
You never know.
You've got to do the things you want to do,
and say the words you keep inside, you know,
you never know when your time will be done,
and all the chance you lived with will be gone.
Oh the very thought of it gets you wrong,
by the time you're done you will say you wrote the book on...
When the mere idea of it makes you blush,
by the time you're through, you will thank your lucky stars...
Oh the very thought of it makes you wrong, gives you pause,
by the time you're through, you will sing it like a song, la la la la...
Oh you never know.
No, not for sure.
You never know.

Hard Times

Written By: Michael Gerard Levasseur

Some people ain't good for nothin'
Other people good for too damn much
It's all the way the cards get shovelled,
and whether or not you've got the touch.
It's hard times, dead or alive
Hard times dead or alive
Oh it's hard times, dead or alive
It's hard times, dead or alive
And you better believe it's true.
I've got a kitten sittin' pretty back at the home
begging like a dog for an old hambone
All I've got here's this ball of yarn
and even that is almost gone.
It's hard times...
Well your girl she's gonna leave you
just as soon as she can stand,
and your darned if she don't,
but if she do you'll be damned.
I saw two little birdies high above the land
and each was wishing his head was in the sand.
It's hard times…
Even the undertaker's singing this sad old song
I just had to ask him what was wrong
He stuck his shovel in the ground and said
"Look here, son. People these days are just living too long!"
It's hard times, dead or alive
Hard times dead or alive
Oh it's hard times, dead or alive
It's hard times, dead or alive
And you better believe it's true.


Written By: Michael Gerard Levasseur

Well, you're spent as a wooden nickel and you look like a hundred bucks.
You bet the whole damn life it wasn't worth the trouble or the stardust.
Your mouth's an open boxcar and your fingernails are rust.
Who is a man to trust? Enough's enough's enough.
See the sights in your fair city, but it all looks so Cobain.
Wash it down with something sour, go and wash your hands again.
Even the sunlight on the dewdrops on the roses looks like bottled rain.
Who is a man to blame for going a little insane? What's a man to do?
Oh if I were you. Oh if I were you...

A Sign

Written By: Michael Gerard Levasseur

Just give me a sign and I won’t walk the floor,
...and I won’t wait no more,
....that you will be true
....and darling I will too
Don’t give me no symbols I’ll just be confused,
...darling I’ll refuse, charts, no graphs, no stand-ins
Honey all that I want is something I can believe in.
Don’t hand me no words though I love to hear you speak them,
...I got plenty inside my own pen,
When I want words I will beg for them in rhyme,
Honey all that I need from you right now is a sign.

Rocket City

Written By: Michael Gerard Levasseur

Start from the top. It is always best to start on a road you cannot see the end of.
Leave the cases cold; leave them in the caverns where your memories will make love.
Save yourself, so you can be there for somebody else.
Dig, dig down to the other side of the world; maybe things will be better there. Maybe they’re not
so poor. Try to to scratch the surface come up nervous with a headache that just wouldn’t quit
feeling like your world had split.
Save yourself…
Drive all night. Drive all night. Drive all night.
Drive all night. Get to Rocket City, ditch the dull self-pity,
Say hello to the rest of your life.
Save yourself, so you can be there for somebody else


Written By: Michael Gerard Levasseur

home is a place, that you can turn your back to but you can still go back to,
so hit the road, don't hit it too hard bear in mind, that's how you broke your fist the last time
i know you know you should have been in pictures, there's just no screen that big these days
so pack your bags and get behind the wheel again wheel's suit you better anyway
o desire, home is such a hungry word,
this sickness inspires, home is just along a road
home is a place, that you can turn your back to,
but you can still go back to
call me, whenever you want to,
i just hope
that you'll want to


And Now... The Moonshine (2014)
The Cuckoo's Crooked Path (2016)

Set List

We have 4 hours of original songs, traditional songs, originals that sound traditional, and a variety of rock and folk covers that we pick from based upon what our audience is likely to like.

We can do family friendly sets, as well as sets geared toward the over 18 crowd.