The grueling life of a touring musician has inspired a lot of music over the years, songs like “Trucking” by the Grateful Dead and Simon and Garfunkel’s “Homeward Bound.”
Reno’s Moondog Matinee will step into that tradition Saturday, Jan. 18, with the release of its sophomore album, “Carry Me, Rosie.”
In case you’re wondering, “Carry Me, Rosie” isn’t a reference to a road-weary longing for a wife, lover, etc. It’s about a bus.
“It’s almost like a love letter to our school bus, which has been our home away from home over the last four years,” Moondog’s Adam Carpenter said.
The Reno rock group is appearing at Cargo in Reno’s Whitney Peak Hotel on Saturday, January 17, playing a release party for the new record. Moondog Matinee released its debut album “Vacancy at the Wonder Lodge” in 2011.
“The new album I would say is a little more cohesive,” Carpenter said. “The first one it was like, ‘we like all of these styles of music, and we’re going to play all of these styles of music.’”
To record the new album, the band retreated for a week to a cabin in Gray Eagle, Calif. Long fascinated with “destination” or “retreat” albums like the Rolling Stones’ “Exile on Main Street,” Moondog wanted to create that getaway recording experience.
“With the new album we wanted to have sort of a live album vibe,” Carpenter said. “We were hanging out for a week. We’d get up, we’d eat and then we’d play music for 10 hours or so.”
Moondog Matinee is Carpenter (bass, vocals), Pete Barnato (vocals, keyboards, guitar), Steve Widmer (guitar, vocals), Drea Ballard (guitar, vocals), and Ben Ingle (drums). Barnato is the only Reno native. Ingle is from Winnemucca and the rest are from Las Vegas.
The group came together in 2006, from Carpenter and Barnato jamming with mutual friends in the basement of Barnato’s fraternity. Moondog proper was created in 2010, shortly after Ingle joined the band for a gig. The group had no name at the time, and was in search of one before the show.
“We started looking through a bunch of our favorite albums, and hit ‘Moondog Matinee’ by the Band,” Carpenter said.
The name hit home with the group, all fans of the Band. It stuck.
These days, Moondog Matinee is playing its blend of rock and blues around the Reno-Tahoe area, while venturing out on the road for occasional tours around the West Coast.
“We’ve hit the Northwest quite a bit, we’ve been up to Seattle about six or seven times,” Carpenter said. “and down to San Diego and Las Vegas a few times.”
The group has appeared at a number of music festivals in recent years, including 2013’s “Life is Beautiful” in Las Vegas.
Moondog is aiming to expand its touring schedule in 2015, aiming for more and bigger festivals, Carpenter said.
“One of our goals this year is to expand eastward,” Carpenter said, adding that the band also intends to expand its appearances and following in Southern California.
More original music may also be on the way.
“We’re considering putting out another EP by the end of the year,” Carpenter said. “We just want to stay fresh, and try to get our name out there and get it even further.”
For now, Moondog Matinee is looking forward to the release of “Carry Me, Rosie,” as well as returning to Cargo for the special occasion.
“We’ve played a couple times there before,” Carpenter said. “It was sort of a no brainer for us when we were trying to figure out where to do our album release. The menu is amazing, the people that work there are fantastic. We’ve just had really good experiences there.”
Moondog Matinee Album Release Party
Opener: Rigorous Proof and Bryan Jones
When: 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 17
Where: Cargo, inside the Whitney Peak Hotel in downtown Reno