Silverada frontman says Yorkville’s Summer Solstice important to indie bands

With boots that have walked the legendary Grand Ole Opry stage and recorded at the iconic Abbey Road Studios, Mike Harmeier, frontman of the Austin-based Texan-neotradtional band Silverada, returns to Yorkville’s Summer Solstice Indie Music Festival to celebrate independent musicians.

“We just love it here; it’s been so good to us over the years and is like a second home,” said Harmeier. “Whenever Boyd (Ingemunson, organizer of Summer Solstice) calls, we’re going to show up. It’s been really fun helping build Summer Solstice this and last year and curating other bands performing.”

Silverada, formerly known as Mike and the Moonpies, co-host and festival Friday and Saturday, June 21-22. Their performances will help celebrate the band’s trailblazing new album, “Silverada,” releasing June 28.

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Harmeier called Yorkville a prime example of the mutual synergy between local communities feeding off the sweat and effort of uprising musicians cutting their teeth in local music venues.

“We want to help the community and the community wants to help us,” said Harmeier. “There’s few people across the country, like Boyd, that we’re lucky enough to meet who do this for their community. Great local venues bring in and nurture independent artists while those artists introduce the communities to something that brings everyone together.”

Over the years, the band, founded in 2007, consisting of singer/songwriter Mike Harmeier, drummer Taylor Englert, guitarist Catlin Rutherford, bassist Omar Oyoque, and steel guitarist Zachary Moulton, has cultivated an incredibly dedicated fanbase Harmeier describes as part of their family.

Harmeier said the band’s sound was born in the tradition-and-beer-soaked Texas Dancehall circuit, playing covers of Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings, George Strait, and the “King of Honkey Tonk” Gary Stewart.

“We were playing hard every night for four hours just trying to make people dance,” said Harmeier. “When we performed outside of Texas, we felt like ambassadors showing the world our scene is still vibrant. We started writing songs in the traditional sense, but over the years have tried to write more personal while maintaining true to our high-energy shows. It’s important to keep the tradition alive while still trying to move the ball forward.”

“Great local venues bring in and nurture independent artists while those artists introduce the communities to something that brings everyone together.”

From Abbey Road to Grand Ole Opry

The band took their adopted ambassadorship role to new heights when their European tour culminated in recording their 2019 album, “Cheap Silver and Solid Country Gold” with a little help from their friends, the London Symphony Orchestra, at the hallowed Abbey Road Studios.

“It’s palpable when you walk in; such as intense feeling,” said Harmeier. “The Beatles recorded on the same microphones and the same old piano. We had been wearing cowboy hats across Europe for two weeks and watched the eyes follow us. But at Abbey Road, it’s all about the music and everyone at the studio was excited to do something fresh and different with the two days we had to record.”

From there, the band continued walking in the footsteps of legends with their debut at the Grand Ole Opry in 2022.

“The weight of the moment can’t be dismissed; you just can’t get over that the whole time you’re playing there, said Harmeier. “Our band has been together for almost 20 years. We’re one big family. Playing, “Steak Night at the Prairie Rose,” a song dedicated to our fathers, was a very heavy moment for me and the band. You feel completely surrounded. It’s a tough gig, but once you do it, you just want to get back on that stage because there’s nothing else like it.”

Harmeir said the band evolving to understand where each other’s heads and hearts are at helped provide the trust and faith to push their new album into personal and bold new waters. While the Americana genre has exploded nationally with stars like Sturgill Simpson, Jason Isbell, Margo Price, Tyler Childers, and Zach Bryan selling out stadiums, the band’s dedication to staying true to their identity serves as a conduit to open creative outlets.

“We are not really chasing anybody; we are chasing our own creative endeavor,” said Harmeier. “The record is very eclectic because it’s a reflection how we got here and where we want to go. The most exciting part was pushing boundaries and seeing where we could take it. It’s still in the same vein of sounds we’ve explored before, but we wanted to prove we were more than that; it’s something we’re really proud of.”

Harmeier said throwing off the shackles of conformity frees his ability to pursue something deeper when he sits down to compose.

“A lot of the record is an amalgamation of characters I’ve known with myself mixed in as well,” said Harmeier. “Drawing from people I know, I try to touch as close to the whole human condition as the song allows. Some songs start out straightforward and then take my mind to a deeper place. Writing gets very personal because you are trying to capture some sense of nostalgia and put yourself back in a specific moment and place.”

Celebrating Yorkville’s Summer Solstice’s dedication to kickstarting up-and-coming musicians’ careers, Harmeier said he really understands each young fan’s mind in the crowd dreaming of performing on stage themselves someday.

“It takes so much love and dedication; every waking second working towards getting better at your craft,” said Harmeier. “Growing up, my father always had Texas bands over, picking guitars at the kitchen table late into the night. I knew it, right then and there, there wasn’t anything else I was ever going to do.”