Mike & the Moonpies

Steak Night at the Prairie Rose

Texas Platters

Mike & the Moonpies' fifth studio album kicks off where the highway-burning Austin sextet's 2016 live double disc left off, hard charging and tuned to entertain with uproarious boogie. As such, the surprise to Steak Night at the Prairie Rose occurs in the ballads, which bottle the band's tight stage energy with Adam Odor's production polish. The title track's sawdusted nostalgia and a cover of Austinite Jonathan Terrell's "The Last Time" prove that the best venue for heartbreak is a dance hall. Willie Nelson lieutenant Mickey Raphael adds trademark harmonica to weeping steel waltz "The Worst Thing" and the winking "Wedding Band" echoes the Nineties neo-trad country of Randy Travis and Travis Tritt. All set up LP highlight and gambler's lament "Beaches of Biloxi," and closing showstopper "We're Gone." In thrall of the road and loving every minute of it.

***.5

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