What is “Ameripolitan”? It’s an effort to support artists and bands that are too country for country, and that carry a prominent roots music influence. The nominees for the 2020 Ameripolitan Award have been announced in 13 separate categories. One shakeup for the awards in 2020 is there will be no “Outlaw” categories.
MIke and the Moonpies
Man, there’s nothing better to get your country music pants going crazy like a good ol’ supergroup, and it appears we got a new one that’s formed right under our noses. Called The Panhandlers, it’s not in reference to vagrants, it pertains to that flat-ass piece of land in West Texas that sticks up like a chimney pipe on the map.
Even ceding the argument that the album concept is dead for many listeners these days (which is not true at all for core, grassroots fans), there still doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of reason to release a large handful of your songs before an album’s street date, aside from that just seems to be what everyone does these days.
The effort to save country music must be a pragmatic one. Classic country like the stuff Midland is peddling has become a hot commodity in the mainstream and beyond in the last couple of years, and don’t question for a second that Midland and their big radio singles haven’t been a catalyst for this positive development.
What happens at Pickathon doesn’t stay at Pickathon. It reverberates throughout the music world, from the music and moments that spread word-of-mouth to help launch music careers. This was underscored and bolded in 2019 at the beautiful Pendarvis Farm just outside of Portland.
Cedric Burnside, Colton Turner, Cordovas, Courtney Marie Andrews, Garrett T. Capps, Grahame Lesh, Jesse Ebaugh, Lauren Morrow, Mandolin Orange, MIke and the Moonpies, Nathaniel Rateliff, Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats, Phil Lesh, Pickaton, Po' Ramblin' Boys, Sudan Archives, Terrapin Family Band, The Tender Things, Town Mountain, Tyler Childers, Vivian Leva, Vivian Leva and Riley Calcagno
If this all had played out like it should have, The Moonpies would have mashed down on the accelerator with a new record and released something with even more hard charging honky tonk country songs to fuel new their intense live shows. And so what do they do? They fly to London to record an album at Abbey Road Studios with the London Symphony.
When we look back at the first week of August 2019, we might count it as a week for the ages in country music. Not only did we have Tyler Childers drop a new landmark album, Mike and the Moonpies came out of left field with their own. We’ve also had a bunch of new announcements for highly-anticipated records recently.
As if true country music fans didn’t have enough on their plates Friday (8-2) with Tyler Childers releasing a new record Country Squire, formidable Texas honky tonk outfit Mike and the Moonpies came out of left field with a new record of their own, completely by surprise both in its arrival, and in its approach.
Adam Odor, Catlin Rutherford, Cheap Silver and Solid Country Gold, Gary P. Nunn, John Carbone, Kyle Ponder, MIke and the Moonpies, Nikki Lane, Omar Oyoque, Pickathon, Season Ammons, Shooter Jennings, Zach Moulton
The Texas music and Red Dirt movement is growing. There is no doubt about that. The appeal and participation in the music is no longer regional, despite what the names might imply. It’s just as much of a genre at this point as a collaboration of local scenes, offering a much more healthy alternative to the mainstream of country.
Bri Bagwell, Cody Johnson, Eli Howard, Jacob Bryant, Jason Boland and the Stragglers, Joshua Allen, Kaitlin Butts, Micky and the Motorcars, MIke and the Moonpies, Miller Campbell, Scooter Brown Band, The Brass Tacks, The Lowdown Drifters, The Piedmont Boys, Tyler Hatley, Tylor and the Train Robbers, Whitey Morgan and the 78's, Wild Hare Country Festival
Featuring three days of live performances, local organizers didn’t take their chances booking expensive mainstream names with dodgy talent and tired acts. Instead the festival is doing what many regional festivals all around the country are doing, which is drawing their entertainment from the riches of the Texas and Red Dirt.
Texas and Red Dirt music isn’t just for folks in Texas and Oklahoma. The title of the music may imply that it’s a regional thing, but the appeal is international, and the talent is world-class. No matter where you are, Texas/Red Dirt is a much more healthy alternative to the mainstream.
Brass Tacks, Bri Bagwell, Cody Johnson, Jason Boland and the Stragglers, Kaitlin Butts, Micky and the Motorcars, MIke and the Moonpies, Scooter Brown Band, The Dirty River Boys, The Lowdown Drifters, The Piedmont Boys, Tylor and the Train Robbers, Whitey Morgan and the 78's, Wild Hare Country Fest
Memphis, Tennessee was overrun this weekend with throwback hillbillies, Outlaw roughnecks, and Rockabilly Daddy-O’s/Susie Q’s as part of Dale Watson’s 6th Annual Ameripolitan shindig and awards show. The event culminated in the 6th Annual Ameripolitan Awards.
It will never be the easiest festival to get to for anyone. It’s certainly not the cheapest when it comes to ticket prices, accommodations, or incidentals. But what’s for certain after the second year of Mile 0 Fest in Key West, Florida, is that this is Texas and Red Dirt’s premier musical event each year.
Adam Hood, Adam Kurtz, American Aquarium, Bonnie Bishop, Carter Sampson, Charlie Robison, Cody Canada, Corb Lund, Courtney Patton, Garrett Bryan, Jamie Lin Wilson, Jason Eady, John Fullbright, Ken Pomeroy, Kevin Fowler, Kylie Ray Harris, MIke and the Moonpies, Mile 0 Fest, The Band of Heathens, The Mavericks, Trampled by Turtles, Turnpike Troubadours, Tyler Childers, Wade Bowen
The Turnpike Troubadours are not done yet. This was the news coming out of Mile 0 Fest last weekend in Key West, Florida, where the Oklahoma-based Red Dirt country band was scheduled to play, but cancelled the appearance last minute along with multiple other shows.
Legend will be told for years henceforth about the time that Mike and the Moonpies joined with Jamie Lin Wilson for a select group of shows in Texas called the January Jamboree. Nobody expected this: a rare Texas tornado in January that left the crowds raving about how these shows were some for the history books.
Saving Country Music’s home festival, and the place where Sturgill Simpson was discovered, a.k.a. the Pickathon Festival just outside of Portland, OR has just announced their initial 2019 lineup, and it includes a lot of worthy names from the country and roots world and beyond who will assemble at the Pendarvis Farm.
Naming the best live performances of a given year is not the same exercise as naming the best songs, albums, or artists, because it is specifically dependent on the experiences of the individual making the list. But it’s still an important exercise.
Billy Strings, Brandi Carlile, Charley Crockett, Cody Jinks, Colter Wall, Courtney Marie Andrews, I'm With Her, Jaime Wyatt, Jason Boland and the Stragglers, Jesse Daniel, Joshua Hedley, Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real, MIke and the Moonpies, Molly Tuttle, Randall King, Turnpike Troubadours, Tyler Childers, Whitey Morgan and the 78's
In the humble estimation of Saving Country Music, 2018 has been the second bumper crop year in a row for excellent, top shelf efforts in country music. To reflect that, the number of nominees for Saving Country Music’s vaunted Album of the Year recognition has been pushed to its capacity of 10 once again.
American Aquarium, Blackberry Smoke, Caitlyn Smith, Cody Jinks, Colter Wall, Courtney Marie Andrews, Dillon Carmichael, El Coyote, Jamie Lin Wilson, Jason Eady, John Prine, Kacey Musgraves, Lori McKenna, MIke and the Moonpies, Pistol Annies, Randall King, Sarah Shook and the Disarmers, Tom Buller, Whitey Morgan and the 78's
As albums for cover-to-cover listening, most movie soundtracks can be quite tedious, even if the music is good, and even if the movie holds a favorable grade. But some soundtracks are so good, you can enjoy them without having even seen the movie.
As we move past the musical halfway pole for 2018, it’s time once again to look back in the rear-view mirror and see what has wowed us the most so far. Along with some excellent albums that will go on to be considered for some of the best all year, the spring of 2018 has also revealed itself as one of the busiest release periods for in years.
Benefiting The Young Texans Against Cancer, the 10th Annual Lone Star Jam held forth at the rodeo grounds in Austin, TX over Memorial Day weekend, May 26th and 27th. Saving Country Music braved the heat to take in the festivities and snap a few photos.
Bri Bagwell, Cleto Cordero, Dalton Domino, Drugstore Gypsies, Flatland Cavalry, Gary Allan, Jaime Wyatt, Kody West, Laura Jane, Lone Star Jam, MIke and the Moonpies, Parker McCollum, Randall King, Randy Rogers, Read Southall, Reckless Kelly, Stoney LaRue, The Randy Rogers Band, Troy Cartwright, William Clark Green
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 attention their music deserves is woefully out-of-whack with how many people know about them.
Man has it been a frenetic last few weeks with the amount of marquee album announcements we’ve had for 2018’s most anticipated records, along with some excellent songs unveiled ahead of the releases. There’s also been the actual release of a couple of stellar albums that may go on to be crowned some of the best in all of 2018.
Mike and the Moonpies’ “Steak Night at the Prairie Rose” has the Sizzle Country Music’s Salivating For
It’s the local flavor, the authenticity, the dedication to themselves, their fans, the music, and the true-to-life dues paid by Mike and the Moonpies that make them darn near the perfect embodiment of the Austin, TX dance hall and dive bar band so many want to emulate, but so few want to put in the sweat or make the sacrifices to actually become.