Two important independent festivals that are working hard to support and expand Texas, Red Dirt, Americana, and independent country music beyond its traditional borders will not be happening in 2020. Both the Tumbleweed Festival near Kansas City, and the Wild Hare Country Festival in Oregon have cancelled for 2020.
MIke and the Moonpies
Album of the Year is not an accolade handed out lightly. Obviously, the title chosen has to be regarded as the best record of a given calendar year in Saving Country Music’s estimation. Though universal agreement will never coagulate around any album, there needs to be at least some groundswell of momentum behind the record.
Christmas came early for ticket holders of the Texas Music/Red Dirt/Americana-oriented Mile 0 Fest set to transpire in Key West, Florida on January 28th-February 1st, 2020, as well as for those still sitting on the fence about if they want to go, or those who might have a ticket waiting for them under the Christmas tree.
Bri Bagwell, Charley Crockett, Courtney Patton, Drew Kennedy, Elizabeth Cook, Jamie Lin Wilson, Jason Boland, Josh Grider, Kaitlin Butts, Kelley Mickwee, MIke and the Moonpies, Mile 0 Fest, Outlaw Country Cruise, Shinyribs, The Steel Woods, Tina Wilkins, Walt Wilkins
Mike and the Moonpies are bar none the best country music band out there at the moment, and recently tied for 1st in Saving Country Music’s rundown of the Best Live Performers in 2019. This may be one of those situations where your opportunity to see a band like this in smaller venues is finite, so take advantage of it while you can.
2019 was a stacked year for top live performances. This was supposed to be a list of the top 10 live performances, but due to such a crowded field, things boiled over. And yes, there are three #1 acts. All should be considered equals at the very top level of live performance. They were all so great, it seemed unfair to put one over the other.
Amanda Shires, Billy Strings, Bri Bagwell, Cedric Burnside, Charles Wesley Godwin, Courtney Marie Andrews, Jack Ingram, Kaitlin Butts, Logan Ledger, Lukas Nelson, MIke and the Moonpies, Raul Malo, Shane Smith and the Saints, Sierra Ferrell, Tami Neilson, The Brother Brothers, The Mavericks, The Tender Things, Tyler Childers, Whitey Morgan and the 78's, Yola
If you’re going to be in Tulsa this New Years, let me just say on behalf of all the country and roots fans that won’t be, we hate you and your ugly stupid face. It’s completely unfair that you’ll get the opportunity to take in some of the best lineups of performers this side of the big festivals.
Adam Hood, BJ Barham, Cain's Ballroom, Cody Canada, Colter Wall, Gary Braun, Jamie Lin Wilson, Jesse Daniel, Kaitlin Butts, Micky Braun, MIke and the Moonpies, MIke McClure, Wade Bowen, William Clark Green
When it comes to top-tier releases in the country and roots realm, 2019 was a year like we’ve never seen before. Though it feels like we say that every year, 2019 truly was exceptional. The albums selected to be considered for Saving Country Music’s Album of the Year are so elite, all of them should be considered the winners.
Aaron Watson, Caroline Spence, Chane Smith and the Saints, Charles Wesley Godwin, Charlie Marie, Chris Knight, Cody Jinks, Croy and the Boys, Emily Scott Robinson, Erin Enderlin, Ian Noe, Jason Hawk Harris, Michaela Anne, MIke and the Moonpies, The Steel Woods, Tyler Childers
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.
Ameripolitan, Big Cedar Fever, Big Sandy and His Fly-Rite Boys, Charley Crockett, Dale Watson, Dorris Mayday, Duane Eddy, Grace Adele, Jaime Wyatt, Jesse Daniel, Jimmy Dale Richardson, Justin Trevino, Kathryn Legendre, MIke and the Moonpies, Summer Dean, Tammi Savoy, Two Tons of Steel, Whitney Rose, Zephaniah OHora
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