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Recorded at Abbey Road Studios with help from the London Symphony Orchestra,Cheap Silver and Solid Country Gold is Mike and the Moonpies most adventurous record to date an album that diversifies the bands honky-tonk roots by adding lush strings, cinematic arrangements, and collaborative songwriting to the mix. Inspired in part by the classic countrypolitan music of the 1960s and early 70s, these songs find frontman Mike Harmeierchanneling the smooth delivery of crooners like Glen Campbell and Frank Sinatra, backed by a band of road warriors who all played a major role in the songs construction. The result is a modern record steeped in everything that made the old stuff so compelling: sharp storytelling; honest, dynamic performances; and a willingness to step far outside the box.
Once celebrated as Austins premiere dancehall band with popular residencies at local institutions like The Hole In the Wall, Broken Spoke and the White Horse to match the Moonpies have spent years expanding their reach far beyond the Lone Star State. Geographically, theyll always be a Texas band. Musically, theyve grown into much more than that, having traded the two-steppin twang of their earlier years for a diverse sound thats both fresh and familiar. That sound has earned the group an international following, and it was during a European tour that the bulk of Cheap Silver and Solid Country Gold was created in the same world-renowned, London-area recording studio where the Beatles recorded Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Bandand Pink Floyd tracked Dark Side of the Moon, no less.
Every time weve taken a step forward, its a result of us refusing to become stagnant, says Harmeier, whos joined by his longtime band pedal steel player Zach Moulton, guitarist Catlin Rutherford, bassistOmar Oyoque, keyboardist John Carbone, drummer Kyle Ponder, and producer/collaborator Adam Odor on Cheap Silver and Solid Country Golds eight tracks. We left our dancehall residencies years ago because we wanted to expand our touring beyond Texas. We updated our approach withMockingbird, then went back to a more traditional sound in a 1970s, Johnny Paycheck-inspired way with [2018s break-out album] Steak Night at the Prairie Rose. 10 years into our career, were still finding our voice and were realizing that maybe its not onevoice, but a collection of voices.
A collection of voices, indeed. The albums lead single, You Look Good in Neon, is a nostalgic toe-tapper that evokes Ronnie Milsaps golden years, while Fast as Lightning is a raucous road song thats every bit as electrifying as its title. On the nostalgic Cheap Silver, Harmeiertakes stock of his bands progress as an eight-piece string section swoons in the background, while on Danger a hard-charging epic thats fit for a Hollywood western, with a cameo by Shooter Jennings to boot he sings directly to his son. Also making guest appearances on the album are modern-day outlaw Nikki Lane, who contributes harmony vocals to Miss Fortune, and fellow Texas native Season Ammons, who shows up during the albums elegant cover of Gary P. Nunns London Homesick Blues.
Although largely recorded in London, Cheap Silver and Solid Country Gold still owes its inception to Texas, where the bandmates spent a week co-writing and arranging songs at renowned yellow DOG Studios in Wimberley, TX. Everyone had a hand in the creation process, from start to finish, says Harmeier, who shares co-writing credits with multiple Moonpies throughout the album. I usually come to the table with all the songs already written, but this album is entirely different. We worked on everything together. It was the most collaborative thing weve ever done. It was truly the work of a band.
Its been more than a decade since Mike and the Moonpies launched their career, initially paying their dues as a versatile cover band with a catalog of 300 songs. Cheap Silver and Solid Country Gold nods to those woodshedding days not only in the albums title track, where Harmeierraises a drink and sings, Heres to another night of paying our dues, but also in the albums handful of cover songs. The boys resurrect the twangy spirit of their dancehall days with If You Want A Fool Around, written by Billy Troy and BennieBoling, and also put their own stamp on Aaron Sinclairs Young in Love. Those covers serve as a tip-of-the-hat to the bands roots, while also demonstrating that the Moonpies own songs pack just as much punch as the songs of their heroes. Harmeier and company havent forgotten about their bar-band beginnings, but these days, theyre more interested in creating their own gold.
Cheap Silver and Solid Country Gold rewrites the definition of Mike and the Moonpies music, turning vintage influences into a contemporary thats dark, reflective, and refined.
DOORS 7.30PM | £15ADV | DUSTYPOP.COM