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 May, the band released their fifth studio album, Wild As We Came Here, produced by Sam Kassirer (Josh Ritter, Lake Street Dive, Elephant Revival). The album is catchy, yet showcases the incredible talent and synchrony of the band— matched with Broadway drummer Kevin Garcia, Wild As We Came Here is a fresh perspective with traditional influences.
Appearing at The Domino Room in Bend on October 28.
Wild As We Came Here is a significant leap for the band, which started its journey in 2004. Trent Wagler, Brian Dickel, and Eric Brubaker studied at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, about an hour from Charlottesville (All four members of the band grew up in Mennonite families.) Wagler and Dickel were in a punk/alternative band until acoustic music lured them in.
Wagler soon started crafting songs and learned flat-picking. Dickel took classes on building guitars. They briefly played as a duo before Brubaker joined on fiddle. Lapp eventually came on board after getting to know the band from the local folk circuit. In 2010, following a variety of EPs and LPs, the ensemble officially branded itself as The Steel Wheels, a tip of the hat to steam-powered trains, industrial progress and the buggies of their Mennonite lineage.
Then, as now, The Steel Wheels’ style weaves through Americana and bluegrass music, folk and old-time music, and the acoustic poetry of the finest singer-songwriters. By incorporating percussion and keyboards into the sessions for the first time, Wild As We Came Here adds new textures to their catalog, as themes of discovery, perseverance, and yes, a bit of wildness, run throughout the collection.

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