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Mike and the Moonpies / Press

“Wise choice calling sophomore LP The Hard Way. Few acts cover all the facets of Texas country, and even fewer manage to do it with this young Austin quintet's rugged character. Things start forcefully with the Derailers/Jesse Dayton-styled honky-tonk of "Damn Strait" before they emulate some of the Red Dirt scene with a couple of tunes that typify generic. They make a comeback, however, with swinging piano boogie instrumental "Hot Moonpie #1" recalling Heybale on a glittery night. "Me and Hayes" burns with twin guitars and a stomping rhythm straight out of the Waylon Jennings playbook. The Hard Way ends with banjo on the fiddle-led "Things Can Only Get Better," a breezy, Seventies-style back porch ramble. Mike's Moonpies lend just the right amount of finesse to a genre that never loses its appeal.”

"Not too many bands would have the balls to call one of their records Real Country, but Mike and The Moonpies would probably beat the hell out of anyone who questioned the title’s legitimacy. They look like a bunch of over-indulged 1970s outlaws and we suspect their livers are already as mutated as Keith Richards’. Take the Hunter S. Thompson quote, “I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol violence or insanity, but they’ve always worked for me,” add a Texas drawl, a telecaster and steel guitar and you get this group of long-haired, bearded cowboys who are right at home on the demented pages of Turnstyled Junkpiled. They gave us a taste of their belligerent antics with their cover of Billy Joe Shaver’s “Ragged Old Truck,” and a few weeks later, they’ve arrived on our home turf."

"Mike and the Moonpies performed immediately following the Pecos League matchup between the hometown Alpine Cowboys and the visiting Roswell Invaders. With a sound system provided by Texas Music Hall of Famer Paul Minor, Mike and the Moonpies took to the fast-assembled stage and kicked off a fantastic set. Their traditional country sound kept the crowd's attention and got some folks up and dancing in the landings. I hadn't seen the Moonpies before and had only heard a few songs online. The band impressed with their tightness. They put on a CD-quality show, without having the luxury of a sound check. Drummer Kyle Ponder is a machine, his timing relentlessly steady and fixed with Preston Rhone's bass lines. Guitarist Catlin Rutherford and steel player Zach Moulton both blistered through leads on the upbeat tunes, but kept their licks tastefully appropriate to each song. Singer/songwriter Mike Harmeier's got himself a great band, and his songs give the band a solid foundation."

"It's a Tuesday night at Austin's Horseshoe Lounge and two members of the band Mike and the Moonpies are here to do an interview. Frontman Mike Harmeier is wearing snakeskin boots and a Dwight Yoakam trucker cap. Lead guitarist Catlin Rutherford vaguely resembles Chris Hillman when he wears a mustache, but he's just shaved it off. Harmeier's from a suburb of Houston, and grew up going to the rodeo. Rutherford's family used to own a dance hall in South Texas. He recalls a time Johnny Paycheck came through and asked for a glass of water before the show; instead of drinking it, he startled everybody by plopping his dentures in. Mike and the Moonpies are a professional honky-tonk band. They are self-managed and don't have day jobs, gigging four or five nights a week at bars and private parties around Texas."

“Honky-tonk music operates locally like clockwork. For starters, the Continental Club regularly hosts Heybale! and Dale Watson, while the Broken Spoke boasts Chaparral and Jesse Dayton. Outside of South Austin, though, Mike & the Moonpies have been ruling the roost for several years now. The local outfit has self-released two albums of hard-livin' country with a rare sense of humor that goes over equally well Mondays at Hole in the Wall and unplugged on Tuesdays for happy hour at Mohawk, which also offers the Moonpie: a shot of well whiskey and a Lone Star for $3. "The songs started as jokes originally," recalls leader Mike Harmeier, a 27-year-old from outside Houston. "Then I started to get more serious ... and drinking." The band's stock has risen nationally thanks to a breakthrough session with Daytrotter and subsequent spot on the website's annual Barnstormer tour. "It doesn't matter where we play," says Harmeier. "We're a good dance band; that's what it's all about."”

“Hard-gigging country quintet Mike and the Moonpies titled this year's full-length debut "The Real Country" — a title they seem to consider a charge to keep. They look the part — front man Mike Harmeier sports a cowboy hat as he growls and drawls his way through a set of cutting country anthems, lead guitarist Catlin Rutherford puffs on a cigarette (smoking ban be damned) and pedal steel player Zachary Moulton is a tattooed vision of toughness. Shots of whiskey dot the edge of the stage, and even the crowd is playing the part, two-stepping with an unleashed dog running around underfoot.”

“The brand of country on “The Real Country,” the debut album from Mike and the Moonpies, is extremely adaptable. Some of the music, like the steady blues bounce of “Water on the Rocks” or the relaxed Southern sway of “Matrimony,” call for cordial two-stepping in an upscale dance hall. But if you were to hear the twangy romp of the title track’s steel guitar riffs at, say, the band’s Aug. 12 gig at the Mohawk, you couldn’t help spilling your Lone Star before you scuttled across the dance floor. It’s fitting, then, that the Moonpies feel at home all over town. They’re in their element among the rough-edged rock elites on Red River, but they also held the release party for “The Real Country” at the historic Continental Club, and they’re veterans of the tiny Drag dive the Hole in the Wall. Ultimately, “The Real Country” is exactly what it claims to be — Texas country for Texans, played straight from the heart of Texas.”

“‘It’s true that I, your most humble Austin Music Minute maven, Laurie Gallardo, have bragged about Mike and The Moonpies before. I’ve enthusiastically shared a few tracks from their EPs, Lyin’ (2008) and one of my faves Catalina (2009), on previous segments. They specialize in some delectable roots music that puts a pang in the hearts of those of us who prefer their country old school. Moonpies frontman Mike Harmeier has a twang that’s right at home in any honky-tonk, but the guys are just as much at home at an indie venue as they are in any two-stepping dance hall. The Moonpies have their first full-length album most aptly titled The Real Country, ten tracks chock full of that genuine country-western vibe. (One in particular quickly became my fave – “Fish In A Barrel,” featuring guest vocals by Jenn Miori.)"”

"Parts rock, parts country and folk, Mike and the Moonpies play with a soulful tenacity thick enough to damn near cut with a knife. This is good old fashioned, old-school, bar room blues. This is the Austin I’ve been hearing about. And this is the essence of a great band in a small venue. The set was quickly paced and relatively impersonal — they were playing for no one or nothing in particular, but nevertheless seemed to have some immeasurable connection with the small section of bar patrons. Front man Mike Harmeier possesses a calm and practiced stage presence, and the whole band has an attitude that seems to pull out all the good parts from bigger musicians under bright lights: confident expressions, dry witticisms between songs, infinite likability. Somewhere between nothing and fame, touch exactly the right chords for both the loved and lonely."

“Mike Harmeier has figured out what it takes to make a good country record. He has mastered the art of stepping back in musical time and solely focusing on the roots of a genre. His band MIKE AND THE MOONPIES is on my top five list of Austin bands and I have to say that their shows are like an ugly bar fight with a hug at the end. Completely entertaining and organic in a raw form, MIKE AND THE MOONPIES prove that not all music has to sound new….and it definitely does not require Timbaland as a producer.”

Ryan Scheer - Lucky Rabbit Films

“Mike and the Moonpies delivers the kind of country music we love - tear-in-our-beer, steel and fiddle laden honky tonk with a classic sensibility that keeps you company in a dark bar on a lonely and rowdy night. Fronted by Mike Harmeier, who took a turn to his country roots after the Come Latelys, the quartet proves about as authentic as it gets, and to catch one of their shows at the Hole in the Wall is to experience Austin at it's most essential. Harmeier's tough twang settles like worn in leather, cut with a broken, aching drawl that splits the difference between Georges Strait and Jones with a distinctive Texas flair.”

Austin Sound

“Mike Harmeier is quite a guy — How can he be so wet behind the ears and also principal of a major music outlet (Phono Records) here in Austin? And a guy who writes the low-downest songs I have heard in a long, long time (and I grew up listening to the Louisiana Hayride!). The band — Burton Lee on pedal steel and Mike’s longtime pals Kyle Ponder on drums and Preston Rhone on bass, plus the Reverend Jeff Elliott on fiddle and Joey Thompson (Archibalds) on mandolin on the recording – has that look, too, of a bunch of honky-tonkers who have piled up millions of miles even at a very young age.”

Duggan Flanakin - Flanfire.com

“Chances are you may have seen Mike and The Moonpies playing around town. It’s Americana, it’s good roots music, it’s the honky tonk experience that they’ll give you in a country bar or an indie venue - or just about any place else, for that matter.”

Texas Music Matters by KUT Austin Music Minute
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