Even through the muffled sound of a cell phone on some desolate highway in the middle-of-nowhere Midwest, you can hear New Orleans in Mike West’s voice. He and his wife, Katie Eullis, constitute the playful, hillbilly band, Truckstop Honeymoon. The group’s upbeat, lighthearted and lively tunes contain laugh-out-loud lyrics and impressive high-quality banjo and bass skills.
The painted image of two artists strumming instruments in a quiet studio, free from the stresses of the world is far from reality for Truckstop Honeymoon. Married with children, West and Eullis are first and foremost, parents.
“We fit in our creative work in-between diapers and driving,” West says. “It’s the most creative time of my life.”
Originally from “The Big Easy,” the couple was forced to move after Hurricane Katrina destroyed their home. “We were in the Lower Ninth Ward, but luckily we were out of town when the hurricane hit,” West says. Without a clue of where to go, the couple ended up in Kansas.
“There’s a kind of strange alienation that comes with a forced move; you’re out of sorts,” West says. That move had a ripple effect on all aspects of the duo’s life, especially their music. “There is a lot of that psychology in our music,” West says. “There’s a love-hate thing going on both for where we are and where we are from.”
Between playgrounds and bedtimes, the band finds time to create great music. Truckstop Honeymoon may as well call itself “honeymoon with kids,” given how fulfilled and prolific the two child-laden musicians are. “There’s definitely an inspiration that comes from having a full life,” West says. “There’s not a lot of time for profound contemplation.”
And that lack of deeply contemplative time is what seems to be keeping Truckstop Honeymoon’s specific brand of humor alive. The band takes a witty approach to songwriting, discussing the oddities of life in a way that is universally relatable. “We write songs that try to capture those ordinary and yet bizarre experiences that everybody has,” West says.
Eullis and West are laughing through the absurdity of life and making fine tunes in the process. Oh, and in addition to being a hysterically funny, incredibly talented musical force, Truckstop Honeymoon can put on a live show that makes the audience feel like a part of the family.
Truckstop Honeymoon plays 9:30 pm Saturday, July 21, at Sam Bond’s; $5.