Mike Harmeier, front man and songwriter of Mike and The Moonpies, grew up listening to all the country greats, and then some, on a jukebox at a local bar with his grandpa when he was just a kid. He absorbed the sound, loved it, and wanted the same vibe for The Moonpies’ third studio album, Mockingbird. And what a fitting metaphor, the mockingbird, known for its ability to mimic other birds in its environment. However, Harmeier’s work is far from mimicry. The sounds and style capture the essence he was looking for, blends of old school country and Americana at its best, but you’re also drawn into some of the best damned storytelling ever.

Harmeier is a natural when it comes to songwriting, stirring up such vivid imagery, scenarios and emotions that one cannot help but relate in some way to the tales being told. There’s a clear, open-hearted beauty and heartache aplenty throughout Mockingbird, from the don’t-B.S.-me-and-say-what-you-mean tone of “Say It Simply,” to the heart-wrenching “South First Blvd,” and the painful realizations of “I Don’t Love You.” This isn’t a band simply going through the motions of a “country” band. Mike and The Moonpies are authentic.

Make sure you catch Mike and The Moonpies tonight at The ABGB, 1305 W. Oltorf. They share the bill with Little Mikey and The Soda Jerks. The music starts at 9:30 p.m. Get you some.

-Photography by Dave Creaney.

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