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Hailing from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, The Steel Wheels are familiar with the traditions of folk music and how a string band is supposed to sound. In fact, they’ve been drawing on those steadfast traditions for more than a decade. Yet, their name also evokes a sense of forward motion, which is clearly reflected in their latest album, Wild As We Came Here.
The Steel Wheels recorded their album in rural Maine, where producer Sam Kassirer (Lake Street Dive, Josh Ritter) owns a recording studio inside a renovated farmhouse from the 18th century. All four band members – Trent Wagler (guitar, banjo), Eric Brubaker (fiddle), Brian Dickel (upright bass) and Jay Lapp (mandolin) – hunkered down for a week and a half to create Wild As We Came Here.
The band’s name is a tip of the hat to steam-powered trains, industrial progress and the buggies of their Mennonite lineage. Their musical style weaves through Americana and bluegrass, folk and old-time music, and the acoustic poetry of the finest singer-songwriters. By incorporating percussion and keyboards into their recording sessions for the first time, Wild As We Came Here adds new textures to their catalog, as themes of discovery and perseverance run throughout the collection.
“Few groups have come as far in such a short period of time as The Steel Wheels…” – NPR’s Mountain Stage
“What sets The Steel Wheels from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia apart from many bands is the combination of their stellar instrumentals, accentuated by the one of a kind lead vocal of [Trent] Wagler, and keenly supported by strong harmonies. Eric Brubaker on fiddle, Jay Lapp on mandolin, and Brian Dickel on bass weave in and out intricately throughout this record, painting vivid imagery which flows effortlessly, just teasing the lyrics enough to allow them to resonate within you.” – Country Standard Time