Is 30-year-old country music really one of the hottest things going in country music today? A new festival down in Key West, Florida called Key Western Fest put that hypothesis to the test last week, and discovered mostly positive answers for ’90s country stars and their fans.
Memphis Kee out of Austin is looking to revitalize that approach of taking the robust songwriting of guys like Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt, and applying it to music that’s just as much akin to grunge as country. Memphis Kee calls it “Shred Dirt” in tribute to the Red Dirt sound of the Texoma region.
Things in country music are changing, and across the board, even at an old relic like the Grand Ole Opry. Of course, it’s days of launching stars overnight are long gone. But you ask any artist in country music, and they’ll tell you that making their Grand Ole Opry debut is a lifetime bucket list achievement.
One of the very first festivals that saw the value and rising swell in independent country and roots was Pickathon just outside of Portland, Oregon. This was the place where the very careers of landmark artists such as Sturgill Simpson, The Avett Brothers, Lake Street Dive, and many more were launched.
Bella White, Catlin Rutherford, Cedric Burnside, Frank Farifield, Gabe Lee, Kassi Valazza, Lake Street Dive, Margo Cilker, Meredith Axelrod, MIke and the Moonpies, Mike Harmeier, Omar Oyoque, Pickathon, Riley Dowling, Sturgill Simpson, The Avett Brothers, The Deslondes, The Onlies, Tobacco City, Tyler Childers, Valerie June, Vivian Leva, Vivian Leva and Riley Calcagno, Zachary Moulton
So who is the newest Moonpie on the backline? His name is Taylor Englert, the band has announced. “Can’t say enough good things about this dude. Happy to have him tearing it up on the drums for us. Y’all help us welcome him to the Mike and the Moonpies family.”
Live music in 2021 saw its return after the worst moments of the pandemic, but only in fits and starts, with multiple postponements and cancellations wrecking many plans, yet a few important moments still going off in the windows when they could.
Billy Strings, Blackberry Smoke, Born & Raised Festival, Cedric Burnside, Cody Jinks, Courtney Patton, Drew Kennedy, Dwight Yoakam, Hogslop String Band, Jade Bird, James McMurtry, Jamie Lin Wilson, Laney Lou and the Bird Dogs, MIke and the Moonpies, Mike Harmeier, Mile 0 Fest, Old Settler's Fest, Shane Smith and the Saints, Sierra Ferrell, Steve Poltz, Tyler Childers, Under The Big Sky Fest, Zach Bryan
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…
Adam Odor, Alice Spencer, Catlin Rutherford, John Carbone, Kelley Mickwee, Kyle Ponder, MIke and the Moonpies, Mike Harmeier, Omar Oyoque, One To Grow On, Quaker City Nighthawks, Review, Shooter Jennings, Zac Wilkerson, Zach Moulton
The chemistry of this band is just so perfect, not just unto itself, but for this very time and place. They’re classic, but cool. That’s the reason they aren’t about to compromise anything they do just for a quick step up the ladder.
.357 String Band, Catlin Rutherford, Charley Crockett, Cody Jinks, Colter Wall, Hank Williams III, Jason Isbell, Kyle Ponder, MIke and the Moonpies, Mike Harmeier, Omar Oyoque, One To Grow On, Rachel Brooke, Sturgill Simpson, Turnpike Troubadours, Tyler Childers, Zachary Moulton
Drawing influences from both their native environs, as well as bordering states like Texas for a more open sound, and Wyoming for some Western flavor—and then hopscotching a few states to draw on Southern rock as well—The Barlow is one of those bands you immediately warm up to.
Mike Harmeier, Caitlin Rutherford, Kyle Ponder, Zach Moulton, and the incomparable Omar Oyoque. Mike and the Moonpies as they’re know collectively. Also known as the greatest country music band in the world at the moment — Gary Stewart. The King of the Honky Tonks.
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.
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.
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.