By Joshua Wallace
You might know the music of Gary Stewart from such hits as “She’s Actin’ Single (I’m Drinking Doubles)” or “Drinkin’ Thing” which both appeared on the same album called Out Of Hand. If you haven’t heard that one, I highly recommend checking it out. You can hear Gary Stewart’s influence on Mike and The Moonpies music and when you do, you will know that they were the perfect band for a project such as this. Here we have 10 unrecorded songs co-written by Gary Stewart during the late 70’s and 1980’s. These were songs that for whatever reason, did not make it on any recorded albums. The band worked closely with Stewart’s daughter, Shannon Stewart, and his best friend Tommy Schwartz to compile the tracks for this project. This album was meant to be released later in the year, but the band was able to finish it remotely during the recent “stay-at-home” orders. Let’s check out some of the tracks they came up with.
The album kicks off with a straight up honky tonk number in “Bottom Of The Pile”. It’s a song about the rowdiest honky tonk you’ve ever been in and it’s sure to get some dance floors moving at your next live Moonpies show. Switching things up, we have the duet of “Smooth Shot Of Whiskey”. Mike trades lines and harmonizes with Mark Wystrach of Midland. It’s a smooth (no pun intended) ballad. This sounds like it would fit right in on an early 80’s country radio station. Another favorite is “Dance With Barbara”. Every bar has a Barbara, and all of the guys want to dance with her. This one is sure to make the dance floors shuffle. I love the interplay of the pedal steel and lead guitar on this one.
Another great dance floor tune is “The Gold Barstool”. It’s a great shuffle with more killer lead guitar work, however it is the songwriting that is the star here. If you work at a company for a long time, you typically get a gold watch or something for working in a place for 20 years. Well, at this bar you get a gold barstool for drinking there for 20 years. How’s that for celebrating good times? It’s songs like this that show how great of a songwriter Gary Stewart could be. Slowing things down a bit, we have the bluesy number called “I’m Guilty”. The guitar work is smooth and awesome here, but I love Mike’s vocal performance on this one as it’s one of his better tracks over the years. Finally, we have “Heart At Home” which is a bit of a different style for Mike and The Moonpies. Some slow piano work by Dave Perceful kicks off the track before it goes into a smooth easy listening country ballad. It’s a great change of pace as you don’t often hear this style of country these days.
Mike and The Moonpies have put together a great tribute to the talent that is Gary Stewart. It’s a treat for longtime Gary Stewart fans who have new songs to dig into. It’s also a treat for newer Gary Stewart fans who are discovering his music through Mike and The Moonpies. While it’s still very much a Moonpies record, the band also taps into sounds from Gary Stewart’s era of late 70’s and early 1980’s country that fans don’t get to hear much of these days. I cannot wait to hear some of these songs live as it sounds like a good live record. Touch Of You – The Lost Songs Of Gary Stewart will be available everywhere at 12:01 AM on Thursday May 28th, 2020. This record is only available digitally at first, however there will be physical items to pre-order in the future. Check out the band’s website for more info soon.
Favorite Tracks : Bottom Of The Pile, Smooth Shot Of Whiskey, Dance With Barbara, The Gold Barstool, I’m Guilty, Heart At Home
Mike and The Moonpies – Touch Of You – The Lost Songs Of Gary Stewart (2020)
- Bottom Of The Pile
- Smooth Shot Of Whiskey (feat. Mark Wystrach of Midland)
- Touch Of You
- Life’s A Game
- Dance With Barbara (feat. Courtney Patton)
- The Gold Barstool (feat. Zac Wilkerson)
- That’s Life
- The Finished Product
- I’m Guilty
- Heart At Home (feat. Jamie Lin Wilson and Courtney Patton)