Mike and the Moonpies as a likeable Texas honky tonk band that’s coated in the same red dirt as dozens of interchangeable ensembles. The group’s new album Cheap Silver and Solid Country Gold elevates Mike and Moonpies from the slag heap to the showroom.
As someone who was raised on countrypolitan albums by the likes of Charlie Rich, the woozy songs of three-named Texas outlaws like Jerry Jeff Walker and cheesy country radio hits by cornballs including Conway Twitty, listening to Cheap Silver and Solid Country Gold feels like going home.
The accents provided by the London Symphony Orchestra are likely to elicit comparisons to the occasionally ornate work of Sturgill Simpson, but the 31-minute Cheap Silver and Solid Country Gold moves me in ways that Simpson’s Metamodern Sounds in Country Music never did.
While they engage in country clichés, songs like “If You Want a Fool Around” and “You Look Good in Neon” transcend the genre. And the opening lines of the title track- “I think I'll buy us all a round/We can toast the cheapest silver/That high and lonesome sound/The nights we don't remember” buckle my bum knee.
My audio feature about the Kansas City blues artist Heather Newman aired on KCUR this morning.
(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)