The Steel Wheels will be featured in concert Wednesday, March 28, at the White Gull Inn in Fish Creek. Tickets for the 8 PM concert, the fifth in a series of six scheduled at the inn this winter, are $16.
The Steel Wheels are an Americana band, rooted in musical styles that explore the territories between blues and bluegrass, old-time sing-alongs and old fashioned fiddle tunes. With a nod to the past, they also write their own music, layering old time music styles with new songs to create their own unique sound.
“Imagine a blend of the passion of the Avett Brothers, the instrumentals of Old Crow Medicine Show, and then sprinkle in the backwoods feel of The Legendary Shack Shakers. In truth, attempting to compare [The Steel Wheels] to anyone is an injustice, since after one listen you can hear that they stand very well on their own perch.,” wrote critic John Walker in Americana Roots.
2010 was a breakout year for The Steel Wheels, culminating with five nominations from The Independent Music Awards including “Nothing You Can’t Lose” taking top honors as “Best Country Song”. The four-piece band is based in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, where lead singer and primary songwriter Trent Wagler has been a scene staple for nearly a decade. Multi-instrumentalist Jay Lapp was touring with several successful Midwest bands when he and Wagler crossed paths in Harrisonburg, Virginia and a musical partnership began. The two are joined by upright bassist Brian Dickel and fiddler Eric Brubaker to form The Steel Wheels. Wagler’s voice which has been compared to that of Darrell Scott and John Fogerty is accentuated by four-part harmonies.
The band’s 2010 album, Red Wing, garnered critic’s praise and received a lot of radio airplay. It spent 13 weeks on the Americana Music Association Top 40 radio charts, topping out at #15 as well as cracking the top 10 of the Euro Americana charts. Red Wing ranked #70 of the top 100 Americana albums of 2010 and #2 of all independent releases (Americana Music Association).
The Steel Wheels regularly tour throughout the country, and they have appeared at Americana festivals such as the Bristol Rhythm & Roots Festival, Kerrville Folk Festival, Floydfest, Albino Skunk Music Festival, Smoky Hill River Festival, Atlanta Dogwood, Folk Alliance, Appalachian Uprising and many more. In addition they have headlined at venues such as NPR’s Mountain Stage, Eddie’s Attic, The Ark, Bluebird Café, Uncle Calvin’s Coffeehouse, Club Passim, and Calgary Folk Club among others. Wagler and Lapp also have taken a duo show to Ireland and have appeared with Peter Rowan at the ‘Ards International Guitar Festival. They are currently touring in support of their album, Lay Down Lay Low, released March 6.
While the band presumably will arrive in Fish Creek by automobile, they have gained widespread recognition for three Spokesongs jaunts, in which they toured Virginia, Michigan, and Illinois on bicycle. They have logged over 1,000 miles so far, riding from town to town with all their supplies, merchandise, and gear on their bikes – including Dickel’s upright bass. According to Wagler, they aren’t doing anything out of the ordinary – just commuting to their jobs via bicycle like any other working person might do. Through these tours, the band hopes to raise awareness of the bicycle as a viable method of transportation.
An optional pre-concert fixed price dinner will be served at 6 PM. The menu consists of Guinness braised beef short ribs with mashed potatoes, caramelized carrots and braised cabbage. Dessert will be Dublin cheesecake.
The final concert of the season features the bluegrass band Special Consensus on April 11. Tickets, reservations for the optional pre-concert dinner and information on all concerts in the series can be obtained by calling the inn at 920.868.3517.