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.
MIke and the Moonpies
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.
Cody Jinks will release a new record in 2018. It will be named Lifers and it will be delivered in “no later than June.” And we also know it will be Cody Jinks, because that is who he is, and what he does. The other thing Cody Jinks has is a plan, and a fan base.
Man do we have a few doozies to add to the Saving Country Music Top 25 Current Playlist, amplifying an already jam packed lineup that’s hard to know what to let go of just to add the best of what’s new. But somehow, someway, space must be made for a few stellar new song releases.
When you come across someone making traditional country music for a living, you know they’re not focused on fame and treasure. If anything they must be a glutton for punishment. But when you have a passion that can’t be quenched by compromise, it’s better to scrape by doing what you love than succeeding at what you hate.
If you’re looking for an authentic Austin, TX honky tonk band as opposed to . . . I don’t know . . . some rich Californians looking to exploit the mystique and romanticism of such a thing, then the first place to start looking might be Mike and the Moonpies.
Call it cautious or guarded optimism, but after the abomination that was the 2016 Houston Rodeo musical lineup led by folks such as Luke Bryan, Pitbull, and Florida Georgia Line, and where only one artist with Texas ties and only one female performer were booked (and both were Miranda Lambert), they couldn’t go any lower, that’s for sure.
Aaron Watson, Bri Bagwell, Cameran Nelson, Chris Stapleton, Conno, Curtis Grimes, Darrin Morris Band, Flatland Cavalry, Hoss Mayfield, Houston Rodeo, Jason James, John Baumann, Josh Ward, Max Stalling, MIke and the Moonpies, No Dry County, Randy Brown, Texas Renegade, The Strayhearts, Wade Andrew Smith, Willie Nelson, ZZ Top
Now that we are well into May, many people are wondering where the announcement for Willie Nelson’s annual 4th of July Picnic is. The country music institution, started in 1972 with the Dripping Springs Reunion (not officially held on the 4th) has been going strong ever since, despite skipping a couple of years here and there.
For every officially-sanctioned event, there’s two more that squeeze in where they can and try to keep the original spirit of SXSW alive, including the now 8th Annual Brooklyn Country Cantina, which boasts a stacked 2016 lineup including Sam Outlaw, Daniel Romano, Possessed by Paul James, The Quebe Sisters, Mike and the Moonpies, and many more.
Along with the frequency of incidents involving bands being burglarized, it’s been the brazenness of the thieves, and the high-profile nature of the incidents that has put Houston in people’s crosshairs for not being hospitable to touring musicians.
On Monday, the official lineup for the 2016 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo was “announced” by astronaut Scott Kelly from the International Space Station. Perhaps the aeronautical histrionics were a bid to distract everyone back on Earth from the fact that this year’s lineup is the most mundane, most mainstream-centric and generic pop tart Kellogg’s cereal assemblage of plastic talent ever accrued on this beautiful blue planet.
Abbi Walker, Billy Currington, Bri Bagwell, Cole Swindell, Cooper Wade, Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, Houston Rodeo, Jamie Richards, Jason James, JB and the Moonshine Band, Josh Ward, Justin van Sant, Little Big Town, Max Stalling, MIke and the Moonpies, Miranda Lambert, Randy Rogers, Sam Riggs, The Band Perry, Trent Willmon, Wade Bowen, Zane Williams
2015’s Album of the Year candidates might constitute the most wide open field of contenders since this exercise has been in practice. There’s no clear front runners, anyone could win, and each candidate has pluses and minuses. Like every year, your opinion counts, and may even count more this year with no clear front runner.
Brandi Carlile, Chris Stapleton, Don Henley, James McMurtry, Jamie Lin Wilson, Jason Boland and the Stragglers, Jason Isbell, Jason James, John Moreland, Kacey Musgraves, Lindi Ortega, Lonesome Wyatt, MIke and the Moonpies, Rachel Brooke, Randy Rogers, Roo Arcus, Ryan Bingham, Turnpike Troubadours, Wade Bowen, Ward Thomas, Whitey Morgan, Whitey Morgan and the 78's, Yelawolf
Who knows what goes into deciding what bands and artists launch into the stratosphere. and which ones are destined to slag it out on a slow build spending umpteen hours in a smelly tour van. All I know is I’ve seen Mike and the Moonpies get name checked by Sturgill Simpson and open for the Turnpike Troubadours on numerous occasions, and never did their music strike me as second class.
“Take It And Break It” affords nine new original tracks from Rondeau, and is produced by R.S. Field who has previously worked with folks like Billy Joe Shaver and Hayes Carll, and produced Justin Townes Earle’s first two LP’s. This album has a great spirit and is a worthy receptacle for these original songs that now get to go out into the world and find inviting hearts.
Austin, Beth Chrisman, Billy Joe Shaver, Brennen Leigh, Hayes Carll, Hole in The Wall, Jim Stringer, Justin Townes Earle, Leo Rondeau, MIke and the Moonpies, RS Field, Take It And Break It, The Carper Family, Tom Petty