The Steel Wheels
Raw Appalachian Roots
- Wednesday, May 10, 2017
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The Steel Wheels Media
About The Steel Wheels
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.
The band started its journey in 2004. All four band members – Trent Wagler (guitar and banjo), Eric Brubaker (fiddle), Brian Dickel (upright bass), and Jay Lapp (mandolin) grew up in Mennonite families. Wagler, Dickel, and Brubaker studied at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, about an hour from Charlottesville. 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.
The Steel Wheels’ style weaves through Americana and bluegrass music, folk and old-time music, and the acoustic poetry of the finest singer-songwriters. Exquisite harmonies remain a strength of the band. More than a decade into The Steel Wheels’ career, the simple act of singing together – something that carries them back to their Mennonite heritage – is still incredibly special.