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Mike & The Moonpies at The Hi-Dive show preview 

click to enlarge Mike & The Moonpies, with 5 & Dimers; Wednesday, Jan. 3, 8:30 p.m.; 7 S. Broadway, Denver, hi-dive.com.
  • Mike & The Moonpies, with 5 & Dimers; Wednesday, Jan. 3, 8:30 p.m.; 7 S. Broadway, Denver, hi-dive.com.
Obscenity, 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. 

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