Written by Eddie Ferranti
Growing up in Ohio I never heard a country song I liked. That just was not going on in that part of the world in the 1970’s. Living in Texas since 1979 however has made me appreciate what country roadhouse music really means. A band that personifies the true country roots and adds plenty of rock to the delivery is Austin based Mike and the Moonpies. Rose and I had the pleasure of catching this squad a few years back at the Viva Big Bend Music Fest where a spent crew slammed their way thru one song after another while hittin’ a bottle of bourbon. This was our fourth go around with them and beer drinkin’, whiskey and dancin’ stick to them like glue!
Head Moonpie and songwriter Mike Harmeier is the type who does not set out to write country songs but rather authentic stories about life growing up. You ain’t getting’ no sappy stuff here son , but be prepared to be hit upside your head with straight forward instrumentation from a solid six piece band. Drummer Kyle Ponder, Johnny Carbone on keys, and Preston Rhone thumping bass are super steady backing the killer one-two punch of lead guitar Catlin Rutherford and Zach Moulton on steel/electric guitar. Make no mistake about it though that Harmeier is the growling drawling leader of this show from start to finish.
“Smoke Em If Ya Got Em” busted out of the gate and this shuffling shindig was on! Playing before their first sell out crowd at this bad to the bone venue seemed to energize the band. “Honky Tonk Motel”, “Stop Fallin’ In Love With Him”, and Haggard penned tune “Tonight We’ll Kick the Flood Lights Out Again” blasted the appreciative crowd back in their seats. Quoting Harmeier : “ It doesn’t matter where we play. We’re a good dance band. That’s what it’s all about”. No room to do that this night, but the “feel” was more than there all evening.
The songs kept rolling. No chit chat. No nonsense. Just ear catching lyrics wrapped around vintage country texture slammed into classic rock. Hell when Moulton got up and strapped on an electric for “In the Corner at the Jukebox” I could of sworn Molly Hatchet had taken the stage! 3 prong guitar army has joined their already potent arsenal . Songs of note, which were plenty, included “One Is for Whiskey”, “Me and Hayes”, and “Never Leaving Texas”. This hard touring band has definitely carved a cult like following which is growing big time. Our love for them deepens every gig we catch. Aw shucks humble attitude radiates thru all the band members who thank you for coming. You can tell they love what they are doing and the people love it, too!
Speaking of loving it, we have to take a second to acknowledge the fine folks at Main Street Crossing. The phrase “Service with a smile” LIVES in Tomball at this popular establishment. All we seem to do is attend sold out shows and they have gigs booked already well in to 2017. Whatever the staff from top to bottom is doing works very well indeed.
Hats off to the warm reception that HMR receives every visit!
Try it. You’ll like it.