Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Steel Wheels

The Steel Wheels Poster
Last weekend we drove to Conroe, Texas to see my son and daughter-in-law.  While we were there we went to see The Steel Wheels at The Dosey Doe Music Cafe.  Dosey Doe's is a great music venue along with an award winning restaurant.  We arrived early and got a table a few feet from the stage.  After a great meal, with the best fried green tomatoes I have eaten, we were ready to see the Steel Wheels.

The Steel Wheels
The Steel Wheels are based in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.  They blend old-time musical traditions with their own innovative sound.  They often cluster tightly around a single microphone and add to Trent Wagler’s unmistakable tenor with bell-clear four-part harmonies inspired by their shared Mennonite heritage. Add to this Eric Brubaker’s lively and evocative fiddle, Brian Dickel’s grounded yet buoyant upright bass, and Jay Lapp’s signature mandolin style, and you have The Steel Wheels.

The Steel Wheels

The small venue and the intimacy of the concert made it feel like your friends were singing for you in your living room.  The musicianship was absolutely top notch.  Every song was tight, and the harmonies were amazing. I was close enough to be able get some video.  The song "Rain In The Valley" is an acapella song that defies description; it is sparse and dense all at once.  

The song Lay Down Lay Low is the title track from their latest album.  It is much more representative of their sound.  The song is very poignant after hearing the story behind it.  A friend of Trent's walked to a tall bridge with the intention of ending his life.  He didn't go through with it, but his experience was captured in the song.

As I stand on the river bridge, Silent on this thirsty ridge
No more birds will sing for me on this desperate day
I’ve walked far to make it here, I know my path is plain and clear
I will take to rest a final time on that clay.

Lay down, lay low, They say it’s quiet there
Lay down, lay low, I want to finally fall down, fall down

The concert was one of the most enjoyable that I have ever attended, and I highly recommend The Steel Wheels to anyone who likes Americana, Folk, Acoustic, Bluegrass or Vocal Harmonies. A line from one of their songs seems to say it all, "Going to that place where the song sings you".

The Steel Wheels

Trent Wagler

Brian Dickel

I shot all of the photos and videos in this post during the January 19, 2013 Steel Wheels concert at The Dosey Doe Music Cafe in Conroe, Texas.