Mike & The Moonpies Releasing Album of Unheard Gary Stewart
Well well well. We though Mike and the Moonpies caught us completely off guard last August when they released a surprise album on us called Cheap Silver and Solid Country Gold recorded in London. Well the next trick up their sleeve is even more out of left field, but just as exciting, if not more if you can believe it.
During the hour long “season finale” of the band’s “Live From The Prairie Rose” variety streaming sessions they’ve been doing on Facebook since the COVID-19 shutdown, they announced they have a brand new record of completely unreleased and unheard songs written by country legend Gary Stewart on the way this Thursday, May 28th, which also happens to be Gary Stewart’s birthday.
“So we have a record coming out on Thursday, and Thursday is the King of the Honky Tonks Gary Stewart’s birthday,” Mike Harmeier announced with everyone else in the band in sequestered squares on the screen, including their producer/manager Adam Odor, and their sometimes keyboard player John Carbone. Mike explained how the band was put in touch with Gary Stewart’s daughter Shannon, as well as Tommy Schwartz who runs Stewart’s estate, and the idea for Touch of You – The Lost Songs of Gary Stewart came together.
“What they sent to me was about 20 songs of Gary’s unreleased that we were going to choose from, and maybe do one or two of them. But we decided to do a full on 10 song record of those songs,” Mike explained. “We had six under our belt by the time the quarantine started, and we went ahead and did four more during quarantine. Everybody bought home studio rigs, everybody tracked at their house, and sent it all to Adam [Odor]. Kyle [Ponder] (drummer) did go to Yellow Dog [Studios] to cut the drum tracks for it. And then we wrapped it up about two days ago.”
Anyone who knows both the Gary Stewart catalog and Mike and the Moonpies knows that Stewart was a primary influence on the band. Back during the band’s days of playing extended sets in Austin honky tonks, many Gary Stewart songs made it into the rotation.
“My dad kept asking me when I was talking about it if we were going to do the songs we used to do in the set, because we used to play a lot of Gary,” Mike said. “But the whole point is to do these songs. A big part of this is turning people on to Gary who didn’t know Gary before. We wouldn’t be who we are without Gary.”
Due to the quick turnaround time to make it available on Gary Stewart’s birthday, the album will only be available digitally to start. The band wasn’t initially planning to release the record now, but since they are unable to tour, decided to go ahead and finish and release it now. So there is no pre-order or merch packages available, but they promise there will be in the future.
“I do just want to say thanks so much to Shannon his daughter for being so cool during this whole thing, and letting us do our thing with it. No questions asked. They’re very happy someone is helping to keep his legacy going. We’re honored obviously to be a part of that,” Mike Harmeier said.
The album also includes some guest appearances from Jamie Lin Wilson, Courtney Patton, Zac Wilkerson, and though they haven’t officially announced it yet, from the track list Saving Country Music was able to procure, it appears Mark Wystrach of Midland also makes a very meta appearance on a track.
You can see the full announcement, as well as listen to three songs and hear the stories behind them in the video below. All but one of the songs from the album are completely unheard. The title track was released at one point as a B-side, but is not currently available anywhere via streaming services.
Touch of You – The Lost Songs of Gary Stewart Track List:
1. Bottom of the Pile
2. Smooth Shot of Whiskey (feat. Mark Wystrach)
3. Touch of You
4. Life’s a Game
5. Dance With Barbara
6. The Gold Barstool
7. That’s Life
8. The Finished Product
9. I’m Guilty
10. Heart At Home
May 24, 2020 @ 10:21 am
Gary Stewart was the most underrated country singers of all time and “Out of Hand” is one of the greatest country albums ever. I’m extremely excited for this release.
May 24, 2020 @ 10:32 am
My favorite current band is releasing an album of unreleased material from my favorite singer .Christmas during quarantine.
May 24, 2020 @ 10:35 am
Oh hell yeah. Just one more reason why I love this band.
May 24, 2020 @ 10:51 am
That’s absolutely awesome!
May 24, 2020 @ 12:03 pm
To echo Tex, Hell Yeah! Gary Stewart’s mid to late ’70’s string of albums “Out Of Hand,” “Steppin’ Out,” “Your Place Or Mine” and “Little Junior” (not to mention his late career three album run on Hightone Records) comprise some of the best honky tonk / Southern rock music ever released. Stewart’s unpredictability and penchant for self destruction, along with his label of “too country for rock, too rock for country,” sabotaged what should have been a Hall of Fame career. Countless artists (Wade Hayes and Ronnie Dunn immediately come to mind) have sung his praises and covered his material. I encourage all my brothers and sisters to find online and read Jimmy McDonough’s “Little Junior, King Of The Honky Tonks” for more on this icon. Thanks to Mike and the Moonpies and Trigger for some much welcomed good news during a tough time.
May 24, 2020 @ 2:43 pm
Hey Mike Basile,
I am writing a book on Gary.
I think you’ll like it.
May 25, 2020 @ 10:38 am
I would like to buy a copy of book when you get it done !
May 25, 2020 @ 11:37 am
you might wanna talk to the original band members such as myself an a handful of others,,I was a drummer and a pretty good friend of Jr’s before his untimely departure from this Planet.we all have plenty to say about GaryS.,an I guarantee it’s all true…you cant make this up,,,good luck,,,
May 25, 2020 @ 11:45 am
Randy, I’ve talked to a bunch of band members…but not you! Please drop me a line!! I’ll be waiting!!!
Jimmiemcdonough – at- aol.com
or through my website jimmymcdonough.com
May 24, 2020 @ 12:33 pm
What Mike and everyone involved has done to bring us quality fun entertainment during the last few weeks has been nothing short of amazing. Well thought out shows that went light years beyond the average artists stream events and now to find out he’s been working on this? I’m speechless……..ironically the finale last night is the only show I didn’t catch live as I was saving it for this evening. It’s still a tiny bit possible the June 25th show here might be a go? Maybe they can move it outside? Oh who’s kidding who?………. but at least we’ll have the album.
May 24, 2020 @ 7:52 pm
The finale was so entertaining and fun thanks to everyone (Adam?) who helped Mike navigate this new frontier during the last 2 months it goes above and beyond what any of you guys should have to deal with in this scenario. The 3 songs sounded great! Sure I think live streaming is in your future….full band shows and when you get here someday soon……and you will…………just like I did @ Fitzgeralds I think I’ll buy you all you a round.
Omar…….too funny!!! Hilarious……..Gold……..Solid Country Gold!!
May 24, 2020 @ 12:34 pm
I once read that when the Traveling Wilburys were in Florida, Bob Dylan refused to leave the state until he met Gary Stewart and watched him perform.
May 24, 2020 @ 12:55 pm
Well I am excited about this one. I love Gary Stewart was able see him play live sadly it was a rough night for Gary that night but glad I got to see him live. I hold probably misplaced hope he will be inducted into the country music hall of game. Looking forward to hearing this.
May 24, 2020 @ 1:30 pm
What a great follow-up to Cheap Silver. I’m looking forward to this and Zeph OHora’s record.
May 24, 2020 @ 1:48 pm
WOW! Thats super cool. Gary was such a talent. Mike and The Moonpies might just be the coolest band on the scene for coming up with great ideas like this and the fabulous Cheap Silver. Gidee-up!
May 24, 2020 @ 3:33 pm
This is one to buy sound unheard.
Billy Wayne Ruddick
May 24, 2020 @ 4:34 pm
Damn. What an incredible idea.
May 24, 2020 @ 4:53 pm
Jimmy McDonough – If anybody could and should write that book, it’s you brother. I’ll be the first to buy it. I still have an original Village Voice copy from 1988 of your feature “Honky Tonk Man – Up And Down The Lost Highway” that I pull out at least once a year, slip “Steppin’ Out” into the cd player and pay homage to The King. Absolutely cannot wait – any time frame on the publishing date?
May 24, 2020 @ 7:38 pm
haha No and No. There is a lot of material to go through. Maybe next year!
May 24, 2020 @ 5:49 pm
Believe it or not my parents used to babysit Gary in letcher co ky specifically Jenkins number 3 holler. Gary was an amazing person and his music can’t be beat.
May 24, 2020 @ 5:53 pm
Watched this last night..the three songs they played from album were excellent..the show he has been putting on has been like a lil variety show.. been entertaining for sure..
May 24, 2020 @ 6:02 pm
And here I thought these guys couldn’t get any cooler… This is awesome news!
May 24, 2020 @ 6:39 pm
Moonpies and Midland collaborating..!!!! Oh my!!! The end of times are indeed nigh i tell you…
No seriously though love both bands, mad respect to Gary Stewart, this is very awesome.
May 24, 2020 @ 10:19 pm
I am from Okeechobee, Florida about 35 miles from Ft. Pierce, Florida where Gary is from and I would like to thank Mike & the Moonpies for reaching out to the Stewart family. All the locals new Gary had a large catalog of unreleased music and always wondered why nobody reached out to the family for a project like this. I will definitely pass the word around here to everybody. Unfortunately, not many people in this part of the country are familiar with Mike & the Moonpies. Maybe they can come to Ft. Pierce for the next Gary Stewart birthday bash at Little Jim Bridge Fish Camp, they do it around his birthday every year except this year, or at least I haven’t seen an announcement for it. Thanks, Todd Villars
May 25, 2020 @ 3:59 am
WOW that’s great news! I love his albums with Dean Dillon, kinda likethe grandfather of “hold my beer”.
May 25, 2020 @ 5:37 am
as well as listen to three songs and hear the stories behind them in the video below.
May 25, 2020 @ 6:07 am
Another great record from the Moonpies, these guys are the best. I love Gary and so happy they decided to do this project!, There wont be an Empty Glass in the room.
May 25, 2020 @ 6:45 am
Sometimes with all the music to listen too you lose track of old favs. Your article reminded me to bring out my Gary Stewart records and remember how much i love his music!!
The disrespectful, 100% playlist & suggestions free OlaR
May 25, 2020 @ 8:51 am
“An Empty Glass” is my favourite Gary Stewart song.
Late night, lonely, an empty glass & a track like “An Empty Glass”…hardcore.
I’ll buy the album.
May 26, 2020 @ 5:57 pm
Ok, so Wystrach and Midland are involved.
I’ll go first: I think this speaks well of them. I’m curious about how it happened, who approached whom and all the rest, but since Mike is cool with it, who are we to argue?
Which makes me think: Mike and the band are good, generous people, and Wystrach might be, too, to lend Midland’s mainstream exposure to the Moonpies and Gary Stewart.
It’s all to the good, I think. And it’s another reason to put musicians in charge.
September 13, 2020 @ 8:18 pm
OMG i want to get that book for sure Gary was my man loved him..