In independent country, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more underrated, talented band than Mike and the Moonpies. The band, known primarily for their excellent live performances and heavy emphasis on steel guitar, often receives comparisons to indie giants such as the Turnpike Troubadours and Flatland Cavalry.
When you browse the Moonpies’ discography, one thing that may stick out to those who pay attention to genre classifications is that the band labeled their last album, One to Grow On, as Americana. This marks a slight pivot for the Moonpies given that their first four studio albums were labeled as country.
In an interview with Country Chord, frontman Mike Harmeier, opened up about the Americana vs. Country debate, saying, “I think Americana opens it up more to a wider audience, you know? I don’t think if there was real country radio right now, I don’t think there would be a necessity for Americana as a genre. I mean, if country radio wasn’t what it kind of has become on a mainstream scale, Americana would just be country music. But whatever it takes, you know, whatever you have to label it or whatever to call it, to get a wider audience. I’m here for it.”
Harmeier’s quote shares a similar albeit less critical view as independent powerhouse, Tyler Childers. Childers was famously extremely critical of Americana as a genre during the 2018 Americana Music Honors & Awards where he said, “As a man who identifies as a country music singer, I feel Americana ain’t no part of nothing and is a distraction from the issues that we are facing on a bigger level as country music singers.“
Regardless if you share the same view as Harmeier or Childers, it’s always fascinating to see two excellent artists give their unfiltered opinion on one of the hottest debates in country music.
Stream Mike and the Moonpies’ music here: