Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Matt Oliver, Mastered by Sam Patlove
If there isn't one out there already, someone needs to take on the role, as spokesman for all that is good and holy in music, and create a petition that would henceforth require to Austin band, Mike and the Moonpies, roust themselves out of Texas and get out here to all the rest of us. We feel absolutely deprived of these good ol' boys and their country and western songs of enviable and genuine love and a reverence for the things that make life really special - old friends, hard alcohol and those little sinful things that aren't really sinful at all, they just feel as if they should be. We get why they do it. Of course we do. It's material that seems drawn, warm and beating, out of the Texas soil. It's got spurs on its dusty boots and it sounds as if it might just go up in smoke if it were to ever be taken out of one of those quintessential honkytonks that most of us have never set a foot in, but we've got an image of what they must be like, stored up in our heads. We picture the old men, in the mustaches that they've had their entire lives - that they grew onto their faces dirty blonde or brown and all of which have faded into a lesser hue, a white, a gray or a salt and peppered caterpillar. We see the mugs that may as well have their names on them in permanent marker on the sides and the indentations of their familiar finger holds in the handles. We picture the small room and hear glass breaking, the soles of boots clicking across a cold floor and the jukebox playing old country songs that people actually want to hear. This is where they're at home. Why would anyone ever want to leave one of those and why would anyone ever leave the state that has the best and the most of these kind of joints in the entire country? They've got good heads upon their shoulders, these Moonpies and their Mike.
Mr. Mike Harmeier, the leader of this outfit writes songs that are everything you'd ever want in a country song. They are filled with those treacherous trails that are lined with jellybeans and bright lights. The characters or the character that Harmeier writes into them has a relative sweet tooth and little restraint, for these aren't really jellybeans and the bright lights are just analogies for the sneakiest of temptations. This guy in his songs is hungry, loves candy and can't help but to bend down and pick up that first jellybean, then walk a little further and happily see another, which he picks up. We could just substitute whiskey or tequila shots for these jellybeans and we should. It's what we find as the lures in these songs and they lead these guys into the most rare and humbling of moments. Taken to certain extremes, these men get to those points - and they do so many times over, very regularly - where they're able to see things clearer, even through a wheat-colored blur. They come to their epiphanies when they most expect them and it's maybe the reason they batter themselves so. When Harmeier sings on "El Camino," "Pulled up to the bar in an El Camino/That kind of girl sure knows how to raise a fuss/I've been working hard and I know she knows/How a man like me can make you want to spit and cuss/She gives me real good lovin'/She gets all that I got/She tried to help me cover every trace of the hurt I caught going my own way," we're hearing of a man who's turned sensible in spite of himself. He's incapable of giving a guarantee that he'll remain sensible, but that's really a promise that's a hard one to keep. He's just going to try his damnedest to find himself in the good graces of that real good lovin' as often as he can get there. It's all there is to hope for, in the end - the woman who makes you an honest man and the place that feels most like home.