Episode 436: Mike and The Moonpies' 'Cheap Silver and Solid Country Gold'

Episode 436: Mike and The Moonpies' 'Cheap Silver and Solid Country Gold'

Austin, TX's Mike and The Moonpies have come a long way from playing the dancehalls of their native Texas. On their new LP, Cheap Silver and Solid Country Gold, the quintet is leaving the honky-tonk behind and exploring the sounds of smoothed out 70's Country with the help of their friends the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Recorded at the famed Abbey Road Studios, Cheap Silver is bringing countrypolitan "back" in a big way, and the results are a timeless listen that is also one of the years best.  

PLUS! Milwaukee's Buffalo Gospel is serving up the rugged and road-tested Country and Americana that fans of artists like Jason Isbell and Sturgill Simpson are sure to love.

Rosenau & Sanborn @ Colectivo Back Room [MKE] - 8/9/19

Rosenau & Sanborn @ Colectivo Back Room [MKE] - 8/9/19

Last month the duo of Chris Rosenau (Collections Of Colonies Of Bees, Volcano Choir) and Nick Sanborn (Made Of Oak. Sylvan Esso) released Bluebird (listen to our review here), their improvised collaboration that is part studio wizardry and part magic. And on Friday night in Milwaukee they released the material into the wild in front of a live audience.

The date kicked off a short tour that stopped through Eaux Claires and Minneapolis for the first leg and will conclude in September with two stops: First at the tenth annual Hopscotch Music Festival and finally landing at the legendary Mothlight in Asheville, NC.

Check out the photos from their date in Milwaukee below, and don’t miss your chance to have this powerfully uplifting piece of music move the air around you. With any luck, we’ll be seeing more dates from them soon.

Bruce Hornsby & The Noisemakers @ Pabst Theater [MKE] - 8/7/19

Bruce Hornsby & The Noisemakers @ Pabst Theater [MKE] - 8/7/19

By all accounts, Bruce Hornsby is having a hell of a year. But if you've been paying attention at all, that's been pretty much every year for the legendary pianist. In the 33 years since fame first found him on 1986's The Way It Is, Hornsby has been a pop star, jazz titan, Grateful Dead member, bluegrass provocateur and more. Suffice to say, this Virginia boy "done good."

Bringing all of that history to the stage is no small feat, but at his recent stop at the Pabst Theater in Milwaukee with his band The Noisemakers, Hornsby delivered a dream setlist that spanned from his latest LP Absolute Zero all the way back to his first album and back again with some Hornsby penned (but not recorded) hits thrown in for good measure.

LIVE: Peter Mulvey @ Jammin' Java - 10/4/12

“Long distance bike rides are a terrible, terrible idea,” Peter Mulvey told the Jammin’ Java audience Thursday night. He should know; he’s coming to the end of his sixth annual, 14-city bike tour, in which he arrives at every show on a very cool looking German-made recumbent bike. “I’d like to thank you for living in a flat place,” he added.

Mulvey is an engaging performer, wonderful singer, and impressive guitar player, all of which made for a very entertaining show on Thursday. Mixing old and new material with a great array of covers throughout his 20 songs, Mulvey covered a lot of ground and had his audience spellbound.

His latest album, The Good Stuff is a collection of what he calls “the great American songbook;” in addition to classic American artists like Bobby Charles and Thelonious Monk, Mulvey adds modern songwriters such as Tom Waits and Joe Henry. Mulvey performed his interpretations of Leonard Cohen’s “Everybody Knows” and the Duke Ellington staple “Mood Indigo,” but kept the rest of the covers a surprise. His version of Waits’ “Jockey Full of Bourbon” (not the Waits song that appears on The Good Stuff, actually) sounded like John Hammond’s recent version but with darker vocal delivery and superior guitar work. Mulvey also threw in a cover of Randy Newman’s “Sigmund Freud’s Impersonation of Albert Einstein” after telling the audience how the statue of Christopher Columbus at Union Station reminded him of Newman’s song “Great Nations of Europe.”

TO DO LIST: Peter Mulvey @ Jammin' Java TONIGHT!!!

Many musicians have written about getting “in the van” to head out on tour, and by and large they don’t make it sound like a pleasant experience. Perhaps they should roll out on a $3,500 German-made black HP Velotechnik Grasshopper foldable touring bike, as that’s Peter Mulvey’s choice of ride, and it sounds like he’s having a fun time. Traveling around the country on his bike, Mulvey is, in his own words, “turning American into a European Socialist dystopia one folksinger at a time.” He’ll ride his bike into town this evening and do his best to communize Jammin’ Java. (Alright, in point of fact he’s riding from Union Station, but still…)

Originally from Wisconsin, Mulvey spent time honing his skills in Boston subways (as did Tracy Chapman before him). He now has more than a dozen albums under this belt, ranging from contemporary folk to acoustic rock to an all-instrumental album with longtime collaborator David Goodrich.

On his latest album, The Good Stuff, Mulvey focuses on a wide array of covers, from Duke Ellington and Thelonious Monk to Tom Waits and Joe Henry. The songs are all linked by Mulvey’s fantastic ability with an acoustic guitar, which seems to be tuned a different way on every song. (His website’s discography lists the tunings for each song, which has no doubt caused many a guitar player to say “wait….what?”)

His original material is fantastic as well, particularly 2007’s solo acoustic Notes From Elsewhere, which best reflects his live performances – witty, insightful songs sung with one of the best voices this side of Leonard Cohen.