Recorded at Abbey Road Studios with help from the London Symphony Orchestra,Cheap Silver and Solid Country Gold is Mike and the Moonpies’ most adventurous record to date – an album that diversifies the band’s honky-tonk roots by adding lush strings, cinematic arrangements, and collaborative songwriting to the mix. Inspired in part by the classic “countrypolitan” music of the 1960s and early ‘?Os, these songs find frontman Mike Harmeier channeling the smooth delivery of crooners like Glen Campbell and Frank Sinatra, backed by a band of road warriors who all played a major role in the songs’ construction. The result is a modern record steeped in everything that made the old stuff so compelling: sharp storytelling; honest, dynamic performances; and a willingness to step far outside the box.
Once celebrated as Austin’s premiere dancehall band – with popular residencies at local institutions like The Hole In the Wall, Broken Spoke and the White Horse to match – the Moonpies have spent years expanding their reach far beyond the Lone Star State. Geographically, they’ll always be a Texas band. Musically, they’ve grown into much more than that, having traded the two-steppin’ twang of their earlier years for a diverse sound that’s both fresh and familiar. That sound has earned the group an international following, and it was during a European tour that the bulk of Cheap Silver and Solid Country Gold was created -in the same world-renowned, London-area recording studio where the Beatles recorded Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and Pink Floyd tracked Dark Side of the Moon, no less.
“Every time we’ve taken a step forward, it’s a result of us refusing to become stagnant,” says Harmeier, who’s joined by his longtime band – pedal steel player Zach Moulton, guitarist Catlin Rutherford, bassistOmar Oyoque, keyboardist John Carbone, drummer Kyle Ponder, and producer/collaborator Adam Odor – on Cheap Silver and Solid Country Gold’s eight tracks. “We left our dancehall residencies years ago because we wanted to expand our touring beyond Texas. We updated our approach withMockingbird, then went back to a more traditional sound – in a 1970s, Johnny Paycheck-inspired way – with [201 S’s
break-out album] Steak Night at the Prairie Rose. 10 years into our career, we’re still finding our voice … and we’re realizing that maybe it’s not one voice, but a collection of voices.”