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Mike & the Moonpies

The Hard Way

Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, Fri., Nov. 30, 2012

Texas Platters

Mike & the Moonpies

The Hard Way

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.

***

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