Steel Wheels

Aug 29, 2019

Steel Wheels
Credit Josh Saul, Steel Wheels

Muddy Bottom Blues

Program #187 (August 30 at 8:00 p.m. and August 31 at 3:00 p.m.)

A Virginia-based Americana band with a strong bluegrass underpinning, the Steel Wheels built up a dedicated following through regular performances at folk and roots festivals in the 2010s.

Trent Wagler (vocals, guitar) and Jay Lapp (mandolin, guitar, vocals) formed the first incarnation of the group in 2004, adding bassist Brian Dickel and fiddler Eric Brubaker not much later.

Dojo released three albums by the then-nameless band -- Journal of a Barefoot Soldier (2005), Blue Heaven (2006), and Adrienna Valentine (2008) -- before the group renamed itself the Steel Wheels and issued two independent LPs, Red Wing and Uncloudy Day, in 2010. These indie releases helped the group earn seven nominations from the Independent Music Awards in 2010, and along with the acclaim came some Americana radio play and festival slots.

Additionally, the Steel Wheels would play a "SpokeSongs" tour in the summer, where they'd cycle through Virginia or Michigan, playing songs along the way. After two more indie records -- Lay Down, Lay Low (2012) and No More Rain (2013) -- the band moved to Big Ring Records for Leave Some Things Behind in 2015.

Two years later they delivered Wild as We Came Here, which was produced by Sam Kassirer, who plays keyboards for Josh Ritter.

In 2019, the group released their 7th full-length album, Over The Trees. Recorded in Maine with producer Sam Kassirer, Over The Trees draws attention to the impeccable harmonies of the four original members: Trent Wagler (guitar/banjo), Eric Brubaker (fiddle), Brian Dickel (bass), and Jay Lapp (guitars/mandolin). Kevin Garcia, who plays multiple percussion instruments, keyboard, and mallet-based instruments, formally joined the band after the 2017 release of Wild as We Came Here, which Kassirer also produced.

(provided by Allmusic and The Steel Wheels)