“One To Grow On” by Mike and the Moonpies is One for the Ages
The single greatest band in country music at the moment has just released one of the single greatest records you will hear in country music in the last few years. And as much as you may assess this opinion as fandom overriding objectivity, or outright overwrought hyperbole, wait until you give this thing a spin for yourself.
To be frank, I’m a little gobsmacked. You’re so used to your favorite artists beginning to trail off whenever they reach what feels like a peak, whether it happens slowly or precipitously. With Mike and the Moonpies, they found what we all believed was a high water mark both live and in the studio a few years ago, and yet somehow they still figure out ways to outdo themselves.
With their last record, the Austin-based honky tonk band threw us all for a loop when they surprise released a rather composed and understated album in Cheap Silver and Solid Country Gold recorded at Abbey Road in England, right as they were burning down stages as one of the most blazing live country bands around. It was the exactly the type of change of speed to catch us all off guard and keep us on our toes, while adding an entirely new dimension to their music.
But that posed the question, where do they go next? How do you keep things fresh and moving forward? Well in the case of One To Grow On, it’s heading back to their roots, which for Mike and the Moonpies still means moving forward, and doubling down on their strengths. They know how to not take themselves too seriously, how to embrace the cliché nature of country music with a keen sense of self-awareness, and be a true blue honky tonk band for the everyman.
We all got excited by the debut song from the new album called “Paycheck to Paycheck” when it was released a few weeks ago, but a few felt it was a bit light in the substance department. And even listening through One To Grow On once or twice, you still may not pick up completely on what’s happening here. It may be a stretch to characterize it as a concept record, but nonetheless, One To Grow On is a cohesive work in the respect that the already stellar tracks comprise something greater than the sum of their parts.
One To Grow On follows a central character throughout its nine tracks as he perseveres through life’s struggles, and celebrates its triumphs. Though this character is not given a name, his identity and narrative as a blue-collar dude just trying to get through life are revealed as the album unfolds. This takes songs that are already high in entertainment value, and turns them into a reverent tribute to those out there turning wrenches, working machines, setting trusses, and sweating and slaving every day to make shit work for the rest of us. And what better band to do this than one that truly embodies the blue-collar approach to country music themselves like the Moonpies.
What’s the burden of many “concept records” or song cycles that try to tell a deeper story? They often fail to seed an band’s repertoire with songs that work autonomously, aside from maybe one or two of them. That was kind of a problem with their last record Cheap Silver. With One To Grow On, it’s maybe only one or two songs that don’t work on their own. Actually strike that, they pretty much all work individually. What you have is one blazing anthem after another that leave your face rocked, and your heart full.
No need to bellyache about only getting nine tracks here. In a deficit of songs compared to most records, Mike and the Moonpies still deliver way more enjoyment and diversion than your average album, along with ample variety. Though the lion’s share of the record are these up-tempo, honky tonk, good-timing after work anthems, “Hour On The Hour” will really clobber you with the feels, “Brother” gooses the imagination with its involved story, and “The Vein” and “Social Drinkers” add a good change of pace to set up the ending, the epic “Burn Out.”
This band’s just got too much talent. Like the Turnpike Troubadours, they’re a supergroup encapsulated in the same original outfit. Steel guitar player Zach Moulton really steps out on this album, and puts on a proverbial clinic, adding steel guitar elements that influence the melody and rhythm in ways we’ve never heard before. Omar Oyoque is a wizard on the bass. Catlin Rutherford comes in with those killer twin guitar lines. Even drummer Kyle Ponder gets his licks in, laying down the groove that’s so essential to the making the song “Growing Pains” kick.
And of course Mike himself, what can you say? Writing this record with the help of his Moonpie compadres, he continues to defy conventional wisdom about what a country music superstar can be. Grounded and composed, up there on stage he’s both one of us, and 100 feet tall. He’s a true honky tonk hero.
You can tell this album was a team effort, with auxiliary Moonpie member and keyboardist John Carbone contributing too, as well as Shooter Jennings and members of the Quaker City Nighthawks on the final track, Zac Wilkerson, and Alice Spencer and Kelley Mickwee from Shinyribs. Under the of direction of producer Adam Odor, there’s not a single note out-of-place, not a single decision to second guess here. Mike and the Moonpies have created their own little musical universe to dwell in, and it’s undeniably cool, and distinctly country.
It’s easy to hyperventilate and get keyed-up when you have songs this consistently infectious. What’s hard is to cram this much surface gratification into record that seems to speak to something deeper at the same time. One To Grow On isn’t just an album for us. It’s an album about us. Like a modern country music version of Aaron Copeland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man,” it broaches something a bit more profound when taken as a collective work. It canonizes those that are commonly forgotten, and reminds you why the blue-collar worker is so critical to the world—the sacrifices they make, the shit they take—in a way that imparts their existence with an element of soul. And there’s just about nothing more country music than that.
Two Guns Way Up (10/10)
– – – – – – – –
August 10, 2021 @ 8:05 am
I was really wondering what kind of score you were gonna give this record. I think I only remember one or two 10/10s you’ve gave in the past. But these guys deserve it.
August 10, 2021 @ 8:10 am
They just keep getting better and better. This album made my typically tedious commute a blast this morning.
Hope to see them back in Georgia soon!
August 10, 2021 @ 8:18 am
Sounds good. Sounds country.
August 10, 2021 @ 9:24 am
I know it received a lot of praise here, but just couldn’t get into their last album Cheap Silver or the Gary Stewart album. It is refreshing to hear the band return to what they are best at. Been listening to this all morning.
Just as a side observation, is it me, or do the drums sound a little funny?
Billy Wayne Ruddick
August 11, 2021 @ 6:48 pm
The snare sounds pretty bad. It gets worse later in the album.
August 11, 2021 @ 7:18 pm
That’s what I was thinking. The bass drum I’d down in the mix too. I’m still enjoying the album, but it could have sounded better.
August 10, 2021 @ 9:27 am
Don’t know why my comment ended up as a response to your comment Loretta. I clicked at the bottom to comment, not as a reply.
August 10, 2021 @ 8:23 am
For better or for worse, every new Moonpies release has to fight Steak Night (a stone-cold classic) for my affection. It might take me a while to merinate on this one. Immediate impressions though, Zach on steel remains the band’s not-so-secret weapon, and I would’ve liked a couple extra up-tempo jams on there in the style of “Paycheck to Paycheck.” Glad to see/hear Carbone’s still in the mix on keys, and props to Omar for the co-write on “Paycheck to Paycheck.”
August 10, 2021 @ 8:27 am
Dirty Mike and the Boys know how to make a 10/10 album.
August 10, 2021 @ 8:37 am
Every time they release an album, I come here to say the same thing: this is the best band in the world.
After my first of several passes through the album today, I can say there is not a single filler track – all are bangers. I quite enjoy that they don’t release albums with 15 songs on them.
I won’t attempt to rank this against other albums until I have spent some more quality time with it. Although I don’t know if anything can ever top The Real Country, for me.
I was starving for more original songs, though I did like the covers album, too.
Stoked to see them live next week for like the 6th time!
August 10, 2021 @ 9:01 am
Selfishly…I want to keep seeing them in clubs and ballrooms. Nothing quite like it. As I played each track I could imagine what it would sound like being rocked by them in a great room.
August 10, 2021 @ 2:01 pm
I agree Craig but I don’t get it. Per my comment below I really don’t. I don’t know if its the honkytonk edge or why they haven’t caught on but I go to a lot of shows and they are at the top of the list of any act I’ve seen (although I haven’t caught Strings 2021 tour yet but the current reviews are he’s scorching earth), I’ve seen MMP 4 times and each time left saying “wow”.
August 10, 2021 @ 9:11 am
Been too busy to keep up right now,…didn’t realize this dropped. Not a shock that it’s a 10/10, but worth risking getting caught with my earbuds on at work, shhh.
August 10, 2021 @ 9:14 am
Holy fuck this album rips. Seeing them live tonight in Morro Bay CA going to be absolutely insane. Dirty Mike and the boys did it again
August 10, 2021 @ 9:23 am
Is Chritsmas in August. Love it
August 10, 2021 @ 9:26 am
These guys just keep cranking out great albums while others I love have seemed to have lost their way on their new stuff. They just seem like good guys too. I’ll never forget the Greensboro show a couple years ago, went to the bathroom and when I walked back out Mike had left the stage and was playing guitar on top of the bar.
August 10, 2021 @ 9:44 am
I saw the announcement on IG this morning and pre-ordered the CD in about ten seconds. The excerpts sound fantastic. Can we talk about Zach Moulton? Some of the finest steel in the business.
August 10, 2021 @ 10:35 pm
There are some amazing wizards behind the steel these days. But from my money, Zach Mouton is the best out there. This album seals it. Listen to “Growing Pains” and tell me otherwise.
August 11, 2021 @ 5:31 pm
LOL I’m not taking that bet. The fills are fast, melodic, beautiful, and precise. Props to Rutherford for hanging there right with him. They work great together. The whole rhythm section is cooking. What a band. Even Mike’s voice has grown on me: he’s no crooner or big voice like Stapleton. He just sounds like one of us.
But I wouldn’t be surprised if Moulton gets asked to sit in with the Superlatives.
August 15, 2021 @ 5:15 pm
“Growing Pains” has the finest pedal steel parts on any song I’ve ever heard. Incredible work by Zach.
August 10, 2021 @ 9:47 am
I haven’t been a huge Mike and the Moonpies fan. Steak Night was pretty good. I thought Cheap Silver was just plain boring. But this…..this album rocks. By far my favorite of theirs. With this album, I’m seeing what everyone else has been seeing in this band for years. Incredible album. It is neck and neck with Cole Chaney’s “Mercy” for album of the year for me.
August 10, 2021 @ 5:06 pm
I agree. Mercy is definitely my most listened to album so far this year but this has a good chance of catching up.
August 11, 2021 @ 5:32 am
Mercy is so good. He draws a lot of comparisons to Childers, and honestly I enjoy Mercy more than Country Squire, and I might even like it better than Purgatory.
Sir Adam the Great
August 10, 2021 @ 9:54 am
Trig, maybe you should “assess” your use of “asses” in the first paragraph.
August 10, 2021 @ 10:38 am
Kiss my assess.
Sir Adam the Great
August 10, 2021 @ 1:33 pm
You have more than one? Maybe cut back on the Moonpies?
The Ghost Of OlaR
August 10, 2021 @ 10:34 am
Ghost: But, but, but…
The SCM Choir: Shut up Ghost…
Trigger: Oh no…he will write a lengthy novel about an obscure australian bush ballad singer who died 1967 while snorkeling in a billabong south of Wagga Wagga.
Love the steel, like the songs & the production…bbbuut i don’t like the voice of Mike Moonpie.
Now it’s out & no novel about the bush ballad guy.
Maybe some words about my current AotY?
Felicity Urquhart & Josh Cunnigham – The Song Club – Album (11 Tracks) – Released (05/07)
Felicity Urquhart hit a homerun with her 2019 album Frozen Rabbits clearing the 2020 Golden Guitars winning every catagory except for Male Vocalist (well…the majority of GGs). It was my AotY & of the Decade. The singer/songwriter is also a radio & tv presenter, a successful artist for more than 30 years , a 13 times GG winner & she won a CMA award for international broadcaster in 2011.
Josh Cunnigham is singer, songwriter & multi instrumentalist of the multi-platinum band The Waifs. The trio won a couple of ARIA awards & was inducted into the Australian Songwriter Hall of Fame.
The Song Club is the first collaboration. Both were invited to join the Song Club collective. The goal is to write one song per week. Nine of the elevn tracks were written during that time.
Laid back, stripped down, acoustic, traditional, country, folk…will be hard to beat as AotY 2021.
August 10, 2021 @ 5:24 pm
What the hell is wrong with you?
August 11, 2021 @ 2:51 pm
You seem triggered.
August 11, 2021 @ 12:57 pm
Your opinion is so unwanted on this site that your comments aren’t even read. Start your own blog with this crap.
August 10, 2021 @ 10:37 am
Out of curiosity, what is the best way to buy an album these days? I normally listen on Spotify but buy albums like this just for support. I will usually do Bandcamp if available, but I’m wondering if there is a better option to get the most money to the artist.
August 10, 2021 @ 10:53 am
Purchase directly from the artist. Bandcamp is also a good option. This can be pre-ordered here. Due to the backlog in manufacturing, often you have to pre-order even after a title is released, especially for vinyl.
August 10, 2021 @ 1:07 pm
August 10, 2021 @ 10:38 am
Hope they send physical copies to the UK.
Haven’t been able to obtain the last two albums before this one
August 10, 2021 @ 11:32 am
They do. I’ve ordered from them before (and from other US artists) and orders usually take a couple of weeks to arrive.
August 10, 2021 @ 12:11 pm
I ordered a set of albums from American Aquarium and it cost $58 postage.
Even a single CD is costing $15 from them but in this case I’ve just pre ordered the vinyl from Mike and the Moonpies at the not unreasonable price of $13 for postage.
Thom's Country Bunker
August 11, 2021 @ 10:07 am
Yes, I bought a couple direct from the band when I lived in London. You just have to wait (and maybe pay a damned import fee)
Thom's Country Bunker
August 11, 2021 @ 10:08 am
They also have UK dates set for next spring. Go see them buy buy a copy!
August 12, 2021 @ 11:32 am
I might just do that but I’d want the album before then.
Newcastle probably since I’m Scotland not too far away
Thom's Country Bunker
August 12, 2021 @ 11:38 am
I live in Mexico City now. Closest I’ll get is San Antonio!
August 10, 2021 @ 11:18 am
Nine songs? Those damn teases.
August 10, 2021 @ 12:06 pm
Is there a reason it was released on a Tuesday?
I know it happens some but always wonder if they’re maybe trying to get more attention. I find that unless Trigger does a review or Apple Music alerts me as they did yesterday I wouldn’t have known because I’m on the lookout every Friday.
August 10, 2021 @ 12:47 pm
I was wondering the same thing. And also why are new releases always (mostly) on the same day? Is it a kind of informal agreement to release on the same day?
August 10, 2021 @ 1:21 pm
Albums were traditionally released on Tuesdays for decades. Just an established industry standard so all the industry pieces and mechanics would fall together simultaneously – shipping, stocking, sales, press, charts etc.
That changed to Fridays back in 2015, as many believed Friday was the better day since that’s when a lot of other new media, like movies, usually hit the public – but there was some grumbling about that at the time because now albums have to compete with other media and both customers and industry folks tend to “check out” on Fridays, potentially hurting album sales and logistics.
With a band like the Moonpies, though, they don’t seem to rely on the usual industry mechanics so Tuesday probably seemed like as good a day as any to drop this album. Some other artists do it too. I like it. Feels special, and there’s less noise in the market on a Tuesday. In other words, I’m not listening to any other newly released stuff today. Just the Moonpies.
August 10, 2021 @ 1:56 pm
Thanks for providing the context!
August 10, 2021 @ 2:11 pm
August 10, 2021 @ 4:37 pm
With sales charts all be rendered useless, I bet more artists will be releasing new albums on random days. Why not? If we ever get out of this pandemic, how cool would a streaming new release concert at Red Rocks on a Saturday night with the new release instantly available afterwards be? The promotional opportunities are endless.
August 10, 2021 @ 5:02 pm
And Trigger, I know you have the release schedule, but I actually prefer to be surprised every Friday rather than be waiting on the edge of my seat for weeks or months
August 10, 2021 @ 12:07 pm
Wow! What a great album. There are so many layers with a complexity that produces a naturally flowing enjoyable experience. It seems as the whole band took their talents to another level. Hats off to the band and their team.
August 10, 2021 @ 12:39 pm
The ONLY bad thing about this record is that i don’t have alot friends that could really appreciate this one.. LOL. I’ve got buddies into Red Barn Radio and Sailor’s Guide, but nobody that will go Honky Tonkin’ with me!
August 10, 2021 @ 12:41 pm
Damn. I didn’t think this album was out until Friday. Nice surprise to wake up to.
August 10, 2021 @ 1:02 pm
Album of the year right here
August 10, 2021 @ 6:28 pm
Completely agreed. At this point it’s an easy walk-off homer AOTY. If someone beats this one out 2021 will be one hell of a fine year in country music! This is a fantastic album, stem to stern.
August 11, 2021 @ 5:30 am
Hour on the Hour should also be considered for song of the year.
August 11, 2021 @ 1:11 pm
I’ve had the album a couple of weeks now and Hour on the Hour is far and away the song I’ve listened to most over the course of that time. The best song they’ve ever come out with and absolutely my song of the year. The energy during that song was off the charts at the show and when he “yells” it got everybody so hyped. God that moment gives me chills.
Michael J Roy
August 10, 2021 @ 1:51 pm
Album of the Year material for sure.
August 10, 2021 @ 1:56 pm
10/10…YES!!!! We needed an album like this. One of my favorite bands. No idea why they don’t get the recognition they deserve in wider circles. To all those who haven’t seen them live make sure to add MMP to your bucket list.
I’m feeling something close to this good (different) coming from Billy too
August 10, 2021 @ 2:06 pm
Mike and the Moonpies have quickly grown on me to become my favorite band. I don’t even think a Turnpike reunion could change that. This is in my opinion their best album yet, and definite album of the year, and there’s not a weak spot end to end. The playing by the band is on point, and Mike becomes a better and better singer with every album. The vocals on this one are phenomenal.
“Hour on the Hour” is my pick for song of the year so far. Just a great ballad that keeps building in intensity until it just explodes. The writing has gotten even better with these boys as well.
Sometimes your expectations are too high to be met, but that did not happen with this album. I was probably more excited for this than I even was the Sturgill album, and I was not disappointed. These guys are white hot, and I only wish they’d come to Florida.
Also, enough can’t be said about how great the production is. I know the go to guy is Dave Cobb. He’s done some great work, and has been part of some of my favorite albums, but to me in production nothing beats a crisp and clean sounding album, and I’m just blown away by Adam Odor’s production. This is a band kicking on all cylinders and I’m glad to be enjoying this music as it comes out. Clear 10/10 for me.
August 10, 2021 @ 3:16 pm
See them at Mile Zero Fest if you get a chance. Worth the entire cost of the entire week.
August 10, 2021 @ 3:30 pm
I want to badly but I’d have to sell a kidney or testicle to get Mile 0 tickets.
August 10, 2021 @ 4:08 pm
That’s why God gave us two of each. Do it.
August 10, 2021 @ 6:21 pm
Just get it done soon. Removing a nut probably makes movement painful for a while and it’s tough to stand still at a Moonpies show. Gotta see them at a after hours show down on Duval.
August 10, 2021 @ 2:52 pm
Holy shit is this an incredible record. The musicianship and composition, I can’t believe this exists in the year 2021.
August 10, 2021 @ 2:56 pm
Call me crazy, but I didn’t really like it. I will give it a few more listens before I give up on it. 5/10. Does that get me cancelled on this site?
August 10, 2021 @ 3:09 pm
What about it didn’t you like?
August 10, 2021 @ 3:24 pm
Not really sure. It’s definitely not bad music, but not one song will make my current playlist. I was disappointed but not in the band, just nothing appealed to me.
August 10, 2021 @ 2:58 pm
I hate to be that guy and please don’t hold this against me, but I just don’t get it. I’ve listened to every album of theirs and aside from a few selected songs, I just can’t get into them. Sometimes it takes me a few listens to become interested in some bands and artists, but this just isn’t growing on me, no pun intended. Someone mentioned the layers to this. What am I missing? Anyone else having a hard time getting into Mike and the Moonpies?
August 10, 2021 @ 3:18 pm
Personal taste. No harm no foul. There’s other artists that get equally glowing coverage and commentary here that I’m just not entirely feeling anymore. Namely Cody Jinks and Colter Wall. I find both increasingly tedious and boring. I’ll see ’em live if given he opportunity, since live country is so rare where I live, but new albums from those two just don’t get me too excited anymore.
August 11, 2021 @ 5:24 am
I’m firmly on your side. I read these gushing reviews and outpourings of love for this band but just don’t like them. I just don’t. The music sounds fine, but that’s about it. Stories of how “rocking” they are and how fantastic and ripping the songs are? Ok. Just not for me I guess.
August 11, 2021 @ 5:34 am
I would’ve agreed with you before this album. I thought Steak Night was pretty good, but nothing spectacular. I didn’t like Cheap Silver. They weren’t a band I would consider seeing live. But this album changed that for me.
August 11, 2021 @ 7:06 am
Regardless of what anyone thinks about any Mike and the Moonpies album, you should see them live.
August 11, 2021 @ 9:41 am
Absolutely, I have no use for this album but I would see them live still even if this was all they played.
August 11, 2021 @ 8:09 am
Meh, is my response as well. Mike and the Moonpies can’t hold a candle to Zephaniah Ohora. Music really is about personal preference, I suppose.
August 11, 2021 @ 11:46 am
Authentic TX Honky Tonkers > NY Hipster … Everyday of the week and twice on Sundays
August 22, 2021 @ 2:31 am
That’s simply not fair, and an extremely cheap argument based solely on where someone lives. Which is insane in so many ways once you start realizing the diversity of backgrounds of many country legends.
Zeph is a fantastic artist, regardless of where he’s from. And I absolutely adore both him and the Moonpies. They can both be good, you know.
August 11, 2021 @ 5:34 pm
You must be thinking of Merle Haggard.
August 21, 2021 @ 4:46 pm
May I ask who are you into? I gotta fill out my Tex/Red Dirt lineup and am looking for suggestions.
August 10, 2021 @ 3:19 pm
I think songwriters often try to avoid cliche. But there are some that can use familiar phrases to elevate the song. They make like an in-road to your ear. And it helps when it’s combined with a heartfelt message, sincere delivery, killer band, and production. I always thought this about Jason Boland and it struck me on this album. The lyrics are often simple, but that is the beauty.
August 10, 2021 @ 4:32 pm
Enjoyed my first play through. But, seeing Mac Leaphart and The Pink Stones Friday night in Macon Ga solidified them at the top of my best of the year list. The Pink Stones are amazing. I smiled and danced so hard.
August 10, 2021 @ 4:52 pm
That Mac Leaphart record is excellent. I think it is currently number 2 on the year for me behind Red Shahan’s record.
August 10, 2021 @ 6:33 pm
Awesome album. Loved that they kept a tight, polished 9 tracks instead of feeling like it wasn’t enough. To me, that shows maturity and decisiveness, and probably help produce their best album to date.
I didn’t really notice it until the second listen, but the added accompaniment of the electric organ/synth added an additional element that I wasn’t really expecting. I don’t feel like I had caught that in their prior releases.
This one is firmly in the running for AOTY to me alongside John R. Miller and Morgan Wade, with Stu and McMurtry releases to go.
mouths of babes
August 11, 2021 @ 8:05 am
This album sounds great, but for me it is their weakest since before Mockingbird. It’s like they have lost all their tongue-in-cheek and just gone straight corn-pone. Where is the escapism in the lyrics? I don’t want to hear about grinding it out, every day life. I don’t need to listen to music to get that. I want drama! Beaches of Biloxi drama!
For once, I’m glad I didn’t pre-order the vinyl, even though I could def make some Hamiltons back reselling it.
August 11, 2021 @ 9:16 am
Weird take, and I’m confused about what you mean exactly. What sort of escapism are you looking for? Country music is, in large part, about the struggles of daily life – the grind – good times and bad. The “escapism” is in hearing stories about others’ struggles and maybe finding some solace or perspective.
You think “Beaches of Biloxi” is tongue-in-check escapism? That song is about a serial gambler losing all his money again and how his marriage is now probably destroyed for good (as well as his prospects for having kids and owning property). Unfortunately, addictive vices and gross financial mismanagement like that is a sad and destructive reality for many Americans – not some goofy misadventure.
I’ll admit there’s probably not as much humor and silliness on this album as previous ones, but it’s no reason to dismiss it wholesale.
mouths of babes
August 11, 2021 @ 10:29 am
Ok, you are smashing some of my statements together that were meant to be taken separately. To me, country music is about larger than life stories. I’ve been responsible about money and grinding since I first got a job in high school. I was in bands in HS and college so I got a tiny, tiny taste of that life but not being that good of a musician led me down other paths that were much more financially responsible and suited to my strengths.
One of my big pleasures of Mike and Moonpies is the forbidden fruit / drama / road lifestyle he sings about that I will never experience. For example – road crew, beaches, smoke if you got em, neon, etc. I’m never gonna live this stuff, so this is my escapism. The other is what I call the tongue in cheek jokes – might be wrong, wedding band, if you want a fool around – I love these songs as well.
This album has no songs that are grabbing me like previous albums. Maybe it’s my fault bc my moonpies pedestal is too tall. Even though I’m having trouble with the album, it’s still third fav country release this year behind Cole Chaney and John r Miller.
August 11, 2021 @ 11:57 am
I guess it’s all a little arbitrary and a matter of perspective and personal preference. I live in a major east coast city with gun homicides on my block so just listening to a good country song, doesn’t matter what lyrical topic as long as theres some steel guitar and a bit of twang, is all the escapism I need.
Thom's Country Bunker
August 11, 2021 @ 9:47 am
Okay. So, it’s amazing, let’s get the straight.
However… is it me or is it not mastered well? Maybe because I’m streaming it, and when my vinyl arrives it’ll sound better but compared to “Cheap Silver…” I dunno, it sounds a little watery?
August 11, 2021 @ 2:59 pm
I downloaded from Bandcamp. Some tracks sound gorgeous but others do sound a little muddy to my ears, like the instruments and vocals bleed a little too much into each other at times.
If you’re streaming on Spotify, there’s a setting called “Enable Audio Normalization” under the “Playback” menu in “Settings”. Make sure that is toggled “off”. If it’s “on” it’ll automatically adjust the volume and, I suspect, compress the audio making your music sound a bit muddy.
I had that toggled “on” for a while without knowing and wondered why a lot of music I was listening to sounded weak and muddy. I toggled it “off” and it really improved audio quality. It might work for you too.
Thom's Country Bunker
August 11, 2021 @ 3:16 pm
Thanks for the tip. I have it set on “highest quality” but maybe this’ll help too.
I think there’s a wider problem for artists at this level though – you need to master your stuff for multi-formats now – all very different – but mastering is SO expensive that they’re often forced to do a one-size-fits-all. Anyway, I’ll try the new Spotify settings and try again, thanks.
August 11, 2021 @ 3:51 pm
Exactly. Good thing the band basically have a producer/engineer/mixer in the group – Adam Odor. I don’t hear anything egregious, so not a knock on him, though I see the album was mastered by somebody else (for what formats, I’m not sure).
I’ve downloaded some dodgy stuff from Bandcamp over the years and always make point of writing to the label or artist if I hear something wrong – not to be a dick, but just to say, “hey, I think there’s something up with the audio.”
On more than a couple occasions the artist has admitted they uploaded the wrong masters and replaced ’em immediately. I think, apart from the expense of mastering, a lot of artists just don’t think about it.
Honestly, as cool as the democratization of the whole music industry has become since the dawn of the digital age (home recording, home production and mastering/mixing, digital distribution etc.), there’s been a drop in quality control in the audio department overall. Sort of an inevitable problem. Not sure if music fans even care, really. When people accepted 128kpbs mp3s as “good enough” twenty years ago, I knew things would go downhill.
August 11, 2021 @ 5:38 pm
Just listened again, probably the twentieth time in 24 hours, through good headphones instead of a Bose mini-speaker and I retract my initial statement. The album sounds damn great the whole way through.
Billy Wayne Ruddick
August 11, 2021 @ 7:07 pm
I had the first same thought. A bit muddy, and damn I wish they would have tuned the snare to not be so harsh (big pet peeve of mine). Especially on the second half of the album. Overall it’s a pretty solid album. A few great country songs up front, and then several rock-based songs with pedal steel and a little twang. Pretty damned cool.
August 14, 2021 @ 6:02 am
Doesn’t exactly sound like the worlds best engineered album. But to me there isn’t anything detracting about it. And what they did really well was capture the energy of the performances.
The songs didn’t fully hit me the first time though, but they did by the 3rd listen and and now I’d have to agree with the AOTY (so far) comments.
August 11, 2021 @ 5:59 pm
Tickets bought, I’m in. I was on the fence about seeing these guys live when they’re in WI, but this album + review closes the deal. Thanks Trigger!
August 22, 2021 @ 5:48 pm
You won’t regret it!
August 15, 2021 @ 1:23 am
Outstanding album,only 9 tracks but the high quality is maintained all the way.What a great song hour on the hour is. Best album so far this year in my opinion..
August 21, 2021 @ 4:41 pm
What’s that damn clicking sound? It’s a distraction. Also, the guitar seems to be battling the steel. Too much back and forth. The steel wins.
August 22, 2021 @ 8:11 pm
Alright…………..so the Moonpie train rolls into town today and being the old crusty fuck that I am I’m pissing and moaning on the way to the venue because….let’s face it I’m just not used to a 5p show on ANY day let alone a Sunday??? I’m not a good daylight drinker. Never the less I drive into Yorkville (50 miles south of Chicago) to a place where the owner that runs it cares more than enough to book everything WE on this site love here…(Whitey, Sunny, Rob Leines, Joshua Ray Walker…..etc…. he’s the fuckin goods!!!) After an adult beverage or 2 the place is filling up, 3 times as crowded as it was for the Steak Night show a few years back. Omar, Zach, and Catlin mingling throughout the crowd and you feel the buzz in the room start to swell. I’m in the back of the room and I ask a roadie “dude, where’s Adam?” and he goes “this is him right here”. I’m like holy F*** I didn’t know……..It was great to chat and pick his brain as our hero’s tore it up with everyone singing along to many songs. Big smile on Mike’s face as he let the crowd sing, a great time was had by all but like I told Adam we have to think beyond this place for future greater success. We’re not 1 but 3 incredible albums later…….They’re the best at what they do and they deserve it.
October 7, 2021 @ 4:32 pm
Dosey Doe tonight !!!
October 22, 2021 @ 10:49 am
Finally listened to the whole thing.
6.5/10 at best.
They are a great band but this wasn’t their best work.
February 7, 2023 @ 9:07 am
Just saw MMP at Brooklyn Made last night. Wow. So tight, so much energy, outstanding stage presence. The real deal for sure.