Outsider A-Side: Mike and the Moonpies Release Resilient New Album, ‘One to Grow On’

by Clayton Edwards

Mike and the Moonpies—Mike Harmeier (vocals), Omar Oyoque (bass), Kyle Ponder (drums), Catlin Rutherford (guitar), and Zachary Moulton (steel guitar)—have been cranking out albums and burning up the highway for more than a decade. The band released its debut album, The Real Country, in 2010. Since then, the Texas troupe has pressed seven additional albums, including One to Grow On, which dropped on August 10.

Mike and the Moonpies take the best parts of Texas country—steel guitar, beats fit for a dancehall, and lyrics that hit home—and distill them down into a fine shot of musical whiskey. Just like whiskey, their tunes can make you want to dance, whether you know how or not. With a new album and a healthy dose of tour dates, now is a great time to dig into Mike and the Moonpies’ catalog.

Outsider talked to frontman Mike Harmeier about the new record, touring, and more.

Crowds Bring a Different Energy

Mike Harmeier: People are way more excited at shows. I don’t know if it’s because people had time to listen to the music a lot more while there were off or what, but we’ve had so many more singalongs. That’s the biggest noticeable change for me. We were starting to get some of that at the end of our last tour. People would sing along to like “You Look Good in Neon,” or a couple of the bigger songs. Now, we’re getting singalongs on the whole set. It’s a pretty different energy and I’m 100 percent on board with it. 

“Hour on the Hour”

Independent Release

Mike Harmeier: It used to be New Music Tuesdays. We really liked the Tuesday release, which is why we released on August 10. There’s nobody else doing Tuesdays anymore. There’s kind of a pileup and a traffic jam with records coming out. I figured I wanted to stay away from that. We were starting a tour that night also. Everything just seemed to be in the stars. So, I just went with it.

We don’t really follow the rule book on a lot of those things about the way we run our business or anything like that. We’re just fiercely independent.

Blue-Collar Resilience

Mike Harmeier: Right when the whole lockdown thing started up, I built a little home studio in my backyard. I bought some new microphones and studio stuff to just kind of make demos and stuff like that and it became a really cool inspirational room. I hung up some Christmas lights and some neons in there and kinda got the vibe going. It became like escapism writing for me.

I was working on my house and spending a lot of time with my kids and my wife. So, I was in a different headspace. I’d hang out all day, then I would spend all night just going into that studio and writing. I was living a different kind of life. Usually, I’m writing about being on the road because we’re always on the road. That year, I was at home. So, I was writing more grassroots family man working man stuff.

To me, it’s kind of a Mike and the Moonpies record about resilience, I think, especially after writing it over the last year. Everything last year seemed to be another punch in the face one after another. That’s what a working man’s life is about—one challenge after another. It just keeps adding up. I think this record is about overcoming all of those things and just being satisfied with what you’ve got and what you’ve accomplished and knowing you can still work harder to get a little further.

I hope people come away with that feeling and are inspired to keep on working hard.