Texas group Mike and the Moonpies will celebrate the work of country songwriting great Gary Stewart on their new album, Touch of You – The Lost Songs of Gary Stewart. The band’s version of “Smooth Shot of Whiskey,” featuring Midland’s Mark Wystrach, is out now. The full album, which follows the Abbey Road project Cheap Silver and Solid Country Gold, will arrive May 28th.
Working closely with Stewart’s daughter, Shannon, and friend Tommy Schwartz, Moonpies frontman Mike Harmeier listened to unreleased demos from Stewart’s vault, choosing 10 that were originally written or co-written during the 1970s and 1980s. Produced by Adam Odor and finished remotely by the band during quarantine, Touch of You also includes guest appearances by Jamie Lin Wilson and Courtney Patton. The May 28th release date is timed to coincide with the late Stewart’s birthday.
In “Smooth Shot of Whiskey,” Harmeier and Wystrach trade lines and harmonize, with lonesome peals of pedal steel cascading around them. “Pour a smooth shot of whiskey, we could go through a lot of memories/Life has been rough on us lately, and I’ll drink to that,” they sing in the chorus. Stewart penned the song with Dean Dillon and Frank Dycus, and though it was intended for Dillon and Stewart’s second album together, it was ultimately left off when the label decided to issue the project as an EP instead.
“The music of Gary Stewart has been the driving influence of our band from the first notes we played together,” Harmeier says in a statement. “Hearing demos of songs spanning Gary’s entire career was a treat in itself, but getting Shannon Stewart and Tommy Schwartz’s blessing to put our Moonpies twist on these songs is an honor and privilege we’re extremely proud to finally share with everyone.”
Raised in Florida, Stewart made a name for himself in the mid-Seventies in Nashville, recording honky-tonk classics like “Out of Hand” and “She’s Actin’ Single (I’m Drinkin’ Doubles).” He died tragically, committing suicide at the age of 59, on November 26th, 2003.
Mike and the Moonpies announced the album on Tuesday along with the track “Bottom of the Pile.”
Touch of You – The Lost Songs of Gary Stewart track listing:
- “Bottom of the Pile”
- “Smooth Shot of Whiskey” (feat. Mark Wystrach)
- “Touch of You”
- “Life’s a Game”
- “Dance With Barbara”
- “The Gold Barstool”
- “That’s Life”
- “The Finished Product”
- “I’m Guilty”
- “Heart a Home”