Micky and the Motorcars at the Utah Arts Fest

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SALT LAKE CITY — In 2014, Micky and the Motorcars somehow seemed to miss Utah entirely on their tour itinerary.

This week, the Motorcars are returning for their third show already this year.

A combination of heavy promotion for the band’s latest album, Hearts From Above, plus an ever-growing and enthusiastic fan base in the Beehive State has been the catalyst for the increase in shows, according to frontman Micky Braun.

The Motorcars were first in Salt Lake City in January opening for their brothers in Reckless Kelly.  They returned in April to the new O.P. Rockwell in Park City, a place that Braun said he’d go back to in a heartbeat.

“It was great. I loved it. That was one of my favorite shows on that run. You never know what you’re going to get when you’re going into a new spot that you haven’t played before. But I loved it. I don’t know why we haven’t been playing there the last 14 years. We had a great crowd. The sound was great. It was just right up my alley. I’d definitely put that on my list of places to return to as much as possible,” he said.

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This time around, Braun said the Motorcars got an offer out of the blue to play at the Utah Arts Festival on Thursday night. Playing outdoors in downtown Salt Lake during a weeknight appealed to Braun, who knows it’s a chance to catch the ears of people who may just be out-and-about and not there specifically for the band. Plus, he knows there will be the faithful who have been to their shows twice this year already.

For newcomers, the Austin, Texas-by-way-of-Idaho-based Micky and the Motorcars have released six studio albums since 2003, acquiring a loyal fan base with songs like, “Naive,” “Long Enough to Leave,” “Carolina Morning,” “Rock Springs to Cheyenne,” “Bloodshot” and “Any Longer Anymore.” Their latest release, Hearts From Above, has spawned several singles including the title track and “Long Road to Nowhere.”

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The nucleus of the band has been Braun and his brother, Gary, throughout. And although the band went through several lineup changes about five years ago, they seem to have found stability with the lead guitar work of Dustin Schaefer along with Joe Fladger on bass and Bobby Paugh on drums.

Micky Braun took time to speak to the Deseret News by phone from his home in Austin (thankfully not affected by the recent floods) the day after returning from the band’s tour in Germany.  It was the Motorcars 4th tour of the country in six years.

“It’s cool to see how quickly crowds have grown,” Braun said of the growing fanbase combined with now familiar faces at each stop.

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While in Germany, the band released a live album that was recorded during their last tour of the country. Braun hopes the album will be released in the U.S. near the end of July/beginning of August about the same time their new single is released.

While the Germany tour was a success, it nearly stumbled out of the starting blocks.

“We got your standard airlines trouble,” Braun said.

The band missed a connecting flight in New York City, forcing them to quickly book a flight on another airline altogether and get to Frankfurt by way of London. But when the band finally did arrive in Germany, their luggage – including clothes and equipment – didn’t.

Braun said he went on stage that night wearing the same clothes from the flight. Tuning pedals, harmonicas and other smaller pieces of equipment did not make that night’s show. But despite playing on the fly, Braun said it was still a successful gig, And the band still had their guitars with them.

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“We all carry our guitars on. We will check like pedal boards and stuff like that. But I won’t fly – if they let me gate check it at least, then I’ll do that – but that’s as far as I go. Otherwise I won’t fly,” he said.

And while the band may not have had all their equipment for the first night, they did have another staple of Germany: beer.

“That is one of the biggest perks of the ole Germany tour, is every town has their own little local brewery and their all very proud of it and they all want you to drink the beer of their area. We went all over Germany so it was like going on a big beer tasting tour,” Braun said with a laugh.

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