Mike & The Moonpies, with 5 & Dimers; Wednesday, Jan. 3, 8:30 p.m.; 7 S. Broadway, Denver, hi-dive.com.
bscenity, as a Supreme Court justice once pointed out, is hard to define, but you know it when you see it. The same can be said for “red dirt music.” As a genre name, it at least sounds
more precise than, say, Americana or alt-country, although its boundaries are only slightly less muddied. Most often associated with bands out of Texas and Oklahoma, the red dirt sound suggests a mix of honky-tonk, Tex-Mex and outlaw music, with lyrics that don’t have to try too hard to sound authentic, because they just come out that way. A case in point is Austin’s unfortunately named Mike & The Moonpies. Catlin Rutherford’s low-slung Telecaster and Zach Moulton’s pedal steel lay down unison riffs around frontman Mike Harmeier’s lyrics about drinking, touring and more or less getting by: “I don’t care if country music’s dead / I just live a life of breaking even / She’s making it all up inside her head / The one I wrote in G keeps her from leaving.” As a little kid, Harmeier spent a lot of time keeping up with his dad, who was involved with the Houston Rodeo & Livestock Show and would pal around with country icons like George Strait, a clear influence. The group’s new collection, Steak Night at the Prairie Rose
, won’t be out until February, but the songs will sound just as good when the band transforms the indie-rock Hi-Dive into honky-tonk heaven.