If there’s anything that Mike and the Moonpies know as well as Texas honky tonk, it’s life on the road. In the Austin band’s new song “Beaches of Biloxi,” from their upcoming LP Steak Night at the Prairie Rose, the road life gets the best of them.
Featuring an elliptical guitar line that nods to Elvis Presley’s “Suspicious Minds,” “Beaches of Biloxi” tells the story of a night of gambling gone wrong on Mississippi’s Gulf Coast. Typical of frontman Mike Harmeier, who grew up surrounded by his country heroes thanks to his father’s work with the Houston Rodeo and Livestock Show, the song is a vivid slice of storytelling. “On that damn riverboat, the dealers always win,” the narrator laments, trying to figure out how he’ll break it to his wife that he’s blown their family savings.
Harmeier tells Rolling Stone Country that there’s an element of autobiography in the origins of the song. “‘Beaches of Biloxi’ was inspired by a night off from touring on our way home from a festival in Florida. Our bus driver and myself wrote the hook after losing all our money at the poker table. I wrote the rest of the song at the WinStar World Casino in Oklahoma the following week during a three-night stand we were playing there,” he says. “Driving songs are born out of reflection; what we could-have, should-have done. ‘Beaches of Biloxi’ reminds us we’re never alone on that road.”
Steak Night at the Prairie Rose, Mike and the Moonpies’ fifth album, was recorded at Yellow Dog Studios in Wimberley outside Austin and will be released February 2nd. Working once more with producer and “seventh Moonpie” Adam Odor, they cut the record in five days. “I brought in 10 songs that I had never played for the band and let Adam and the guys create and play whatever they wanted until each song found its home,” says Harmeier. “This record is about the band. Everything you heard on this record is exactly what you’ll hear night after night at a Moonpies show.”
For once, Mike and the Moonpies have a few nights off, but they’ll play their next gig at Luckenbach Texas in Fredericksburg, Texas on November 24th.