Saving Country Music’s 2021 Single of the Year

Country songs about country songs are as tried and true of a tradition in country music as any. They can also trend toward cliché if you’re not careful. But this is what Mike and the Moonpies do best: they take time tested themes in country music and instill them in new compositions that feel warmly familiar and infectiously fresh all at the same time. They’re the masters of this action, and their single “Hour On The Hour” is perhaps the perfect example. It also might be the closest thing to the perfect single we heard in 2021.

Why are we such suckers for country songs about country songs? Because country music plays such an elemental part of our lives. Every major life event—breakup, hookup, birth of a child, death of a parent—whatever country song happens to be hitting our brains at the time becomes irrevocably tied to that memory forever. “Hour On The Hour” encapsulates this phenomenon in a way that trying to explain it to someone who’s never experienced this before just never could.

This is the first year that Saving Country Music has named a “Single of the Year,” and the idea was to give the slappers and bangers an opportunity for recognition right beside the more serious and erudite Song of the Year nominees. But with “Hour On The Hour,” it’s a banger and a deep song all at the same time. It’s the best of both worlds.

What really sends this song over the moon beyond the writing and the steel guitar of Zach Moulton is how near the end, Mike Harmeier is singing his guts out. You can hear the tears in his voice. You’re right there in the truck cab with him rolling down the road when that damn song comes on that cuts to the bone. It’s so painful, stirring emotion in you just like many of the moments of Mike and the Moonpies’ 2021 album One To Grow On.

The perfect country and Western song? Let’s not anger the blood of David Alan Coe, or stir the spirits of John Prine and Steve Goodman. But it’s a darn good one. And so is the entirety of One To Grow On, so much so that the whole album is being considered for Album of the Year as well. Meanwhile, those that saw Mike and the Moonpies Live in 2021 (or any time before) will attest they’re one of the greatest live bands out there right now on the road.

We love to romanticize about how our favorite little independent country bands are being so unfairly overlooked in an unjust era in music when the cream so rarely rises to the top. But with Mike and the Moonpies, they really present a bulletproof argument for being one of the best out there, while the gulf between their prevalence compared to the quality of their output is only fair to characterize as criminal. “Hour On The Hour” proves why.

See the rest of the Saving Country Music Single of the Year Nominees.

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