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THE STEEL WHEELS

Hosts of the Red Wing Roots Music Festival!


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“Few groups have come as far in such a short period of time as The Steel Wheels…” – NPR’s Mountain Stage

Virginia-based acoustic roots music collective The Steel Wheels have announced the July 12th release of their 7th full-length album, Over The Trees. Recorded in Maine with producer Sam Kassirer, Over The Trees draws attention to the impeccable harmonies of the four original members: Trent Wagler (guitar/banjo), Eric Brubaker (fiddle), Brian Dickel (bass), and Jay Lapp (guitars/mandolin). Kevin Garcia, who plays multiple percussion instruments, keyboard, and mallet-based instruments, formally joined the band after the 2017 release of Wild as We Came Here, which Kassirer also produced. In addition to familiar-to-fans harmonies, The Steel Wheels ventured a little farther out of their known comfort zone for Over The Trees. “This is a bit of an experimental record at times, with new sounds and influences,” Wagler says. “We know where we come from. We are a string band from Virginia, but we are evolving with this album, and we are embracing the future.”

Over The Trees opens with the percussion-heavy groove of “Rains Come,” a rehashing of the classic tale of Noah and his ark in relation to today’s contingency of climate change deniers. “If there are real dangers ahead in our planet’s hope for survival, why isn’t it all any of us are talking about?” asks Wagler, the song’s primary writer. “It’s overwhelming, that’s why. I don’t like admitting that I get stuck right there, but this song offers some of those questions.” A little deeper into the record, the swampy chant of “Something New” ushers in a recurring theme on Over The Trees; mantra and meditation. “Get To Work” is another tune that falls under the theme. Wagler muses, “I know that ‘Get To Work’ is self-talk for when I’m feeling down, when I’m feeling overwhelmed, or when I’m feeling like, ‘Ugh, what do we do this for?’” Certainly though, not all the songs on Over The Trees fall so neatly under that umbrella. “Time To Rest,” co-written by Wagler and southern songstress Sarah Siskind, reflects on the weight of letting down friends or loved ones in a lilting feel that Wagler calls “an implied Levon Helm swing.” The album closes with “This Year,” a wistful a cappella ode to keeping an optimistic spirit, even down to showing gratitude for the cat who is waiting for you when you finally get home.

On the whole, Over The Trees is a collection of songs about surviving tragedy. “At times our human response is muted and resigned, at other times triumphant and steadfast,” notes The Steel Wheels’ fiddle master Eric Brubaker, who’s outlook on the album changed significantly when he lost his 10 year old daughter to a sudden illness earlier this year. “Over the Trees is an ode to the community that rises up to support those in need, and is dedicated to the memory of Norah Brubaker.”

The release of Over The Trees coincides with the band’s Red Wing Roots Music Festival, which they have hosted and curated for seven years. “Lucky number seven, can you believe it?” said Wagler. “The changes of seasons in Virginia are always something to behold. The colors of fall, the cool, quiet, darkness of winter, and the new growth of spring bringing us to our full bloom in the heat of summer. Summertime brings vacation for many, perhaps a slower pace, but in our modern age, it also comes with so many great choices for recreation and fun. We are charmed and delighted that somewhere along the way, among all the different choices, so many of you have joined our Red Wing family.” The community of Red Wing and the greater community of Steel Wheels fans have been the driving factor of what sets the band apart from their contemporaries and peers in a densely populated digital age. The love and kindness that breathes life into The Steel Wheels’ music flows freely from the stage, into the audience, and is taken from there into the world as a medicine; a much-needed pick-me-up for today’s trying times.

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DAILY SCHEDULE
 
FRIDAY
 
Shenandoah Mtn Stage
1:00pm  The Hollering Pines
3:00pm  Hush Kids
5:30pm  Peter Rowan
8:00pm  Mandolin Orange
10:30pm  The Wood Brothers
 
Blue Ridge Timberwrights Stage
12:00pm  Allison & Tatiana
2:00pm  Cedric Burnside
4:15pm  The East Pointers
6:45pm  Charley Crockett
9:15pm  The Lil Smokies
 
The Roots Stage
1:00pm  Courtney Hartman
3:00pm  Kristin Andreassen
5:30pm  Oliver Bates Craven
8:00pm  Sam Reider & The Human Hands
10:30pm  Larry Keel
 
The Kinfolk Stage
1:00pm  Appalachian Stories
2:00pm  For Goodness Snakes
4:00pm  Red Wing Academy
5:00pm  Dirt Road Sweetheart
6:15pm  The Steel Wheels’ Kids Set
7:15pm  Square Dance
 
The Hill Stage
2:00pm  The Wildmans
3:30pm  Courtney Hartman
5:00pm  Corner House
6:30pm  Allison & Tatiana
8:00pm  The Judy Chops
 
 
SATURDAY
 
Shenandoah Mtn Stage
1:00pm  Jordan Tice
3:00pm  River Whyless
5:30pm  Della Mae
8:00pm  The Steel Wheels
10:30pm  Lucinda Williams
 
Blue Ridge Timberwrights Stage
12pm  Locust Honey
2:00pm Cedric Watson Trio
4:15pm  Lonely Heartstring Band
6:45pm  Feufollet
9:15pm  Fruit Bats
 
The Roots Stage
1:00pm  John R Miller
3:00pm  Lula Wiles
5:30pm  Kaia Kater
8:00pm  Square Dance
10:30pm  Big Daddy Love
 
The Kinfolk Stage
1:00pm  Appalachian Stories
2:00pm  Birds of Prey
3:00pm  The Fernandez Sisters
4:00pm  Cedric Watson & Danny Knicely, brought to you by Kline’s Dairy Bar
5:00pm  The Bright Siders
6:00pm  Corner House
 
The Hill Stage
2:00pm  Oliver Bates Craven
3:30pm  Locust Honey
5:00pm  Justin Jones
6:30pm  Lula Wiles
8:00pm  Jordan Tice
 
 
SUNDAY
 
Shenandoah Mtn Stage
12:00pm  Dead Horses
2:00pm  Birds of Chicago
4:30pm  Lindsay Lou
6:45pm  Gibson Brothers
 
Blue Ridge Timberwrights Stage
11:00am  “Gospel” Set
1:00pm  Sean McConnell
3:15pm  Tim O’Brien Band
5:45pm  Tribute Set
 
The Roots Stage
12:00pm  The Wildmans
2:00pm  Justin Jones
4:30pm  Fireside Collective
 
The Kinfolk Stage
1:00pm  The Fernandez Sisters
2:00pm  Pick Along Jam Session
3:30pm  Dogwood Tales
4:30pm  Saw Black

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