Mike & the Moonpies, Summer Dean, Kathryn Legendre, Brody Price, James Steinle & Juliet McConkey
Back when Mike & the Moonpies were just a head-turning local neo-traditional country bar band over a decade ago, Denis O’Donnell gave them a home base at the Hole in the Wall to hone their hard-driving honky-tonk style. Now the Moonpies finally make their debut at O’Donnell’s latest concern, Sagebrush, which has become South Austin’s premier joint for indie country sounds.
Known for their tireless road dogging and tight live energy, the shutdown hit the Moonpies particularly hard, especially coming off the stellar achievement of 2019’s Austin Music Award-winning Cheap Silver & Solid Country Gold. Yet the quintet remained hot with 2020 Gary Stewart tribute, Touch of You, and last year’s eighth LP One to Grow On, which showcased some of Mike Harmeier’s sharpest writing yet.
The lead up delivers its own impressive lineup. Summer Dean’s no-bullshit country kicking finally grabbed attention with last year’s debut LP, Bad Romantic, torquing Telecaster blasts with dancehall turns. Likewise, Kathryn Legendre steps out with a fresh AMA nomination for best country artist after last year’s soulful “One Long Sad Song.”
Brody Price slings contemplative songwriting with experimental touches and meditative lulls that linger like a twang-infused Buck Meek. James Steinle and Juliet McConkey open with a happy-hour special, the song swapping couple leading like a young Robert Earl Keen and Nanci Griffith.– Doug Freeman