The Steel Wheels
515-B North McDonough St.
Decatur, GA, 30030
Doors 6:00 PM / Show 7:00 PM
The Steel Wheels
“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 apart from many bands is the combination of their stellar instrumentals, accentuated by the one of a kind lead vocal of 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
New from The Steel Wheels: Wild As We Came Here, out April 28, 2017.
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.
JONATHAN BYRD & THE SENTIMENTALS' new project "Mother Tongue" is a Danish-American collaboration. We explored Søren Kierkegaard and Bob Dylan to find a lyrical language, so that we could write songs that held together on an album. We read and listened. We recorded ideas and emailed them to each other. Kierkegaard praised and used Danish, his "mother tongue." He broke through the language barrier with the power of his ideas. Dylan used hymns and folk songs to get a new kind of lyric over. They wanted to be heard on their own terms. Dylan and Kierkegaard forced opposing elements into a single idea, "…to separate what is inseparably joined in order to put it together again," says Kierkegaard. Dylan sings, "to live outside the law you must be honest." "I was so much older then. I'm younger than that now." They build a house of hope on a foundation of despair. Kierkegaard, "Into this night of hopelessness (it is death that we are describing) comes the life-giving spirit and brings hope, the hope of eternity." Dylan says, "When you got nothin you got nothin to lose." With a foundation of these related themes, MC Hansen (of The Sentimentals) and Jonathan Byrd laid a mosaic language for Mother Tongue. MC sings in English, which seems paradoxical, but it is in the spirit of Mother Tongue. English is an international language. MC wants to be heard on his own terms. On the Mother Tongue project, The Sentimentals create room for the songs. The music respects the lineage of the ideas. There is space for thoughts and a human heartbeat. The mother tongue is personal and universal. The Mother Tongue project is a sort of audio handshake and international conversation between philosophy and rock 'n' roll.