Mike and the Moonpies Make Big Impression at Mile 0 Fest
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.
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Stay tuned to Saving Country Music for further recaps from Mile 0 Fest.
Photos by Brad Coolidge, who can be found on Instagram and Twitter.
February 11, 2018 @ 11:18 am
I got to see them this summer in a bar that was barely big enough for a band – thanks to SCM’s head’s up about these guys a long time ago. Great band!
February 11, 2018 @ 11:20 am
I got to see them this summer in a bar in the middle of nowhere Illinois. The bar was barely big enough to have a band – thanks to SCM’s head’s up about these guys a long time ago. Great band!
February 11, 2018 @ 11:23 am
I live about an hour north of Detroit City. My fiance is Canadian and both love Mike and The Moonpies.
We would have never heard about them if it wasn’t for this website. Real country gets no play on our radio stations so we need to “discover” on our own good country music.
Here’s hoping they come close enough to Michigan so I can catch them live one day.
February 11, 2018 @ 11:27 am
Saw them open for Turnpike about a year or 2 ago at the blue note in Columbia, MO and they were badass!! Been waiting for a 2nd chance to see them again
February 11, 2018 @ 11:43 am
Mike and The Moonpies return to Cascade, Iowa on June 9th at Rockin’ on the River. Super excited to have them back again this summer.. This will be a awesome concert with Bri Bagwell opening.
February 11, 2018 @ 2:47 pm
Glad to see Bri widening the scope of her travels as well…she is fantastic!
February 11, 2018 @ 1:31 pm
Just listened to The Hard Way and Road Crew and I am hooked!
February 11, 2018 @ 1:55 pm
That’s Omar Oyoque on bass, btw.
February 11, 2018 @ 2:33 pm
He also did a short acoustic set yesterday morning and killed that too. Sang “Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground” and he flat nailed it. Plus he was at the show last night. Nice guy too. I hope they do get to the point where they make Atlanta a regular stop.
I was really familiar with Jason Eady and Courtney Patton, the Troubadours and Cody Jinks and tried to listen to as many of the other artists before the festival. Favorite new discoveries were Mike and the Moonpies and Sunny Sweeney.
What a great festival. Nonstop music from 11 AM – 3 AM.
February 12, 2018 @ 6:34 am
Great to hear you enjoyed it! How was the venue? Was it fairly easy to get around the island? So wanted to go, but…
February 12, 2018 @ 7:09 am
Very easy. The bars where the Satellite stages are were all within 2-3 minutes of each other. The Amphitheater where the Main Stage is was about a 15 minute walk. We are a little older (60’s) than the average attendee and we walked everywhere., but you could get a ride on a bike, cab, Uber, whatever. The hardest part was picking which Satellite stage to go to before and after the Main Stage shows.
If you can swing it, I highly recommend it. We are at a place where our schedule (kids, etc.) is not a problem, but I can certainly see how it would have been tough to pull off before our next was empty. The hardest part was the 13 hour drive back to Atlanta yesterday.
February 12, 2018 @ 7:45 am
Thanks for the info! Thinking I missed a helluva time.
February 14, 2018 @ 6:48 am
Can I ask where you stayed in Key West? Thanks for any info, you have been a wealth of info already!
February 14, 2018 @ 8:55 am
We had a 2 bedroom condo at 1075 Duval. It was pretty nice. About 15-20 minute walk to the Amphitheater and to the Satellite Stages (Irish Kevin’s, Smokin’ Tuna and Durty Harry’s).
We want to be a little closer next time so it’s easier to pop in and out. Never really felt like we had the time to chill for a bit or get a jacket or a beer or whatever. Always felt like we were going to miss something. But that’s a nit, it worked just fine.
February 14, 2018 @ 9:54 am
Once again, thank you for the information! Really want to go next year, will start making my plans soon.
February 12, 2018 @ 8:25 am
He also covered “Are the Good Times Really Over” early on in the acoustic set. I was amazed at how good his voice was. He also did “Midnight Rambler” at Jamie Lin’s thing on Wednesday night and “Can’t You See” several of shows and nailed them.
They were already quickly becoming one of my favorites after the new album, but after seeing them all 4 days in some capacity, they shot even further up the list. Even better live than on records.
February 11, 2018 @ 8:44 pm
I think the lack of radio, tv an the expense of touring, plus lack of venues for certain music genres leads to the lack of awareness you are talking about Trig. Zydeco, honky tonk, bluegrass and Cajun artists have a similar challenge.This means playing a lot of bars, fairs, and smaller festivals. Heck, up until oirecently, Marty Stuart was playing some of those smaller venues. That’s why it is important when acts filling larger venus like Isbell, Stapleton, and Simpson give them an opportunity for wider exposure by opening for them.
February 12, 2018 @ 11:04 am
Does anyone spell/grammar check these? I’m not even being picky. Some of these errors are just plain lazy and they take away from what would be an otherwise good article.
February 12, 2018 @ 2:30 pm
A draft version of this article got posted with a few small mistakes at the end. They have been corrected and I apologize. Please understand that to write and cover bands like this, there is no budget, no money to support the writer, let alone an editorial staff. If you see a mistake, please feel free to point it out. But don’t assume it’s because someone is stupid. It’s because time and resources are extremely limited, just like with the bands, and we’re all doing the best we can.
February 12, 2018 @ 3:16 pm
I’m sorry if you misunderstood. I didn’t say anything about anyone being stupid.
February 12, 2018 @ 11:29 am
They are a treat.
February 12, 2018 @ 1:24 pm
They are on my list of must see …
Thanks for the pics!
February 12, 2018 @ 7:07 pm
The best show of the festival was billed as Jamie Lin Wilson on Friday night. She played with Cody Canada, two members of Mike and the Moonpies including Mike and I think the drummer from Turnpike. What a great festival although they obviously are still figuring things out and the grounds were pretty spartan. Turnpike, the Moonpies and the Codys (Jinks and Canada also killed it). Having free airfare and hotel and getting out of the Wisconsin winter was a huge bonus but I will be back. Next year I will probably buy the four day pass. Only attended a day and a half this time.
February 14, 2018 @ 1:07 pm
She did the same thing Friday night at Irish Kevin’s and I liked it even better then.
February 18, 2018 @ 10:10 am
The drummer at Jamie Lin’s Jamboree on Wednesday night was “Nooch” from Jason Eady’s band. Or as JE calls him, “The happiest drummer in show business.”
We saw Jason Eady in some fashion (house concert, satellite stages, main stage, twice in the Atlanta metro area) 7 times in about a two week stretch and were never sorry. They unplugged and sang Blue Eyes Cryin’ in the Rain in Atlanta to close their show last Monday night and it was stunning. REALLY looking forward to his new album,
February 13, 2018 @ 8:33 pm
My wife’s “new band”. Definitely a good honky-tonk band. Saw them at Durty Harrys in KW. Great show. Nailed “Can’t You See”!