Album Review Steel Wheels
The Steel Wheels
With Everyone A Song, Vol. 1
Out November 9, 2020
By Rob Dickens
I have to thank my wife for putting me on to The Steel Wheels.
We were in Raleigh North Carolina in 2014 at the IBMA’s huge festival and conference World of Bluegrass. As I have been known to do at festivals, I was spending a fair amount of time in the Exhibition Centre going around the stalls, gleaning as much information as possible. (Actually it was here that I bumped into The Crooked Road music heritage stall which led me to the next week to go to Bristol, Virginia/Tennessee – the Birthplace of Country Music, one of the best moves I have ever made).
Jenny had wandered off, looking for more colour and movement, and discovered radio station WAMU, a stalwart bluegrass country broadcaster, showcasing The Steel Wheels. So impressed, she purchased an autographed copy of their wonderful album Lay Low.
The next year, the band was playing at FayettevilleRoots in Arkansas – seeing them umpteen times there set my ardent admiration in stone.
In the first few months of the pandemic, The Steel Wheels (Brian Dickel, Trent Wagler, Jay Lapp, Eric Brubaker and Kevin Garcia) took to their own home studios, recording more than sixty songs on the concept of “Distance Together.” Conceived by their lead singer and songwriter, Trent Wagler, the project became an avenue for fans of the band to commission works and send musical greetings to their loved ones.
Some songs were written for individuals, friends and families, weddings and anniversaries or to commemorate a lost loved one. At the end of the process, the band felt they had the most heartfelt, inspiring material they’ve ever written.
Accordingly, Everyone A Song, Vol. 1 – a brand new nine-song album – is to be released on November 20 2020. The collection explores the very core of why we are attracted to music. What makes it essential? How do we find connection? How do we survive the distancing, restrictions and health worries during the pandemic?
The Steel Wheels bring their trademark glorious harmonies and musical craft to these nine mini-projects, capturing the tenderness and emotion in every case, making them real and raising our moods and warming our hearts. Uplifting and stirring stuff.
You can listen to “The Healer” at this link at The Boot.
You can pre-order Everyone A Song, Vol. 1 right here.
The process behind this new album has been further documented in an accompanying podcast, We Made You A Song.
Individual song notes below.
Everyone A Song, Vol. 1 Track List:
“My Name is Sharon”
A song to remember the life and spirit of Sharon Gath, for her mom. Sharon died tragically in an accident related to a seizure disorder, but she was always an inspiring and encouraging presence for the people who loved her.
A song for Meta Thayer’s retirement from 38 years as a physical therapist. This song was used during the socially distanced party as a special gift to commemorate Meta’s amazing career. As the family recalled stories from Meta’s life, it was clear that her healing skills were not limited to the workplace.
“Don’t Want To Come Back Down”
This song was a surprise for Tracey Werner-Wilson on her and Ron’s 25th wedding anniversary. Ron wanted to pay tribute to the woman he loves. It contains various fascinating, but true stories about how they met (on an airplane), a New Year’s baby that came close to being born in the back of their Mercury, and other musings on fate/coincidence.
“The Man Who Holds Up The World”
This song pays tribute to the life of Robin Ames. He died in February 2020 shortly before the pandemic shutdown took hold. His two young children and wife contributed to the stories and recollection of who Robin was and how they will hold him in their hearts going forward.
“Water And Sky”
This is a song for Tim Diener. He lives in Kansas near the Cottonwood River and has been a lifelong musician playing for fun and with friends. He wanted “a song of his own.” This John Prine inspired song plays out Tim’s memories of a life lived in a small-town community and the power of the prairie landscape.
“Florida Girl (Work For It)”
Josh and Joanna’s relationship was a little more work than most. A mutual friend introduced them when Josh was living in Seattle and Joanna in Florida. Although not from Florida originally, Josh’s family quickly teased Josh about his relationship with the “Florida Girl.” They eventually took turns flying across the country for visits before getting married during the pandemic. This song was a surprise for their wedding reception.
Lucy Bucher is a health care hero working daily to serve her local community as a physician and leader in the hospital (Athens, OH). The Covid19 pandemic presented Lucy with many challenges, including living separate from her husband and two children, one of whom has a condition that leaves them immunocompromised. By Mother’s Day, her family wanted a song to show their love. This is that song.
A song for Genevieve and Bertie’s wedding. Genevieve is an artist and they are both lovers of nature and the outdoors. Bertie actually mimics the call of a screech owl and they both feel lucky to be a part of a pack together.
“Family Is Power”
This song is for Amanda Lunghamer (Mamie) who celebrated her 80 birthday in August 2020. Her joy is wherever her family gathers and her family wanted a song written to tribute her gentle strength and generous nature.
Album Review Steel Wheels
Album Review Steel Wheels