"Americana music at its best!" — Larry Groce, Mountain Stage
"'Truth: Mumford and Sons, The Avett Brothers and Old Crow Medicine could all learn something from these cats.' That's what I said last year when I pegged 'Rain In The Valley' as the second best song of the year. Nothing has changed except that they keep getting better." — Michael Verity, No Depression
"The Steel Wheels are my favorite band." — Roz Larman, FolkScene, KPFK Los Angeles
"The Steel Wheels wowed our audience with their tight pickin', passionate energy and exceptional harmonies." — Full Moon Folk Club, Edmonton, Alberta
"Music lovers, prepare to have your breath taken away & goose bumps to cover your arms more at this one concert than any other you have EVER been to. The Steel Wheels are just that good!" — Rear Window Listening Room, Ganado, TX
"The Steel Wheels were absolutely fabulous. We've had some of the greats come through here with some great performances, and I can safely say the guys were right up there with 'em (and great to work with, as well). I'd gladly and insistently tell anyone: if you present Folk or Americana, you absolutely HAVE to schedule The Steel Wheels." — Ken Zahnle, Tri-States Public Radio Concert Series
"Amazing." — Michael Allenby, The Festy Experience
"Our sold out crowd went nuts for The Steel Wheels, and rightly so, they were great, great, great!!" — Del Ramage, Grandview Stage
"Steel Wheels music manages to combine a raw mountain sound with a highly sophisticated, melodic presentation always moving forward, grasping their audience at the heart, and shaking them hard enough so they know they've been in contact with a band bridging old-time, bluegrass, and some of the newest and most emotionally engaging song stylings we've heard." — Ted Lehmann
"Top Americana album of 2013 is The Steel Wheels' Lay Down Lay Low and top a capella song of 2013 is The Steel Wheels' Rain In The Valley" — Independent Music Awards
"Wagler has a powerful, earthy, ragged voice with soulful overtones that get right into the heart of his songs that are steeped in Appalachia...You can't help but be moved by the undiluted passion of 'Story About Love', or lifted up by the gospel fervour of 'The Race' or the plaintive 'So Long'...Passionate music like this cannot be ignored...it demands to be embraced." — Alan Cackett, Maverick Magazine
"I'm loving the string band sound of The Steel Wheels' latest album, No More Rain. Yes, it's got an old-time stringband sound, but they write songs with an high energy modern sensibility. Highly recommended." — Americana Music Show
"What sets The Steel Wheels from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia apart from many bands is the combination of their stellar instrumentals, accentuated by the one of a kind lead vocal of Wagler, and keenly supported by strong harmonies." — John Walker, Country Standard Time
"Spawned in the Blue Ridge Mountains of West Virginia, the four-man outfit played tender ballads, astonishing instrumentals, vocals-only gems and ambitious pieces that effortlessly combined lyrical verses, harmonized choruses and virtuoso solos."" — Rock N' Roll Truth
"Americana made by hand...a collection of American sounds reaching from mountains to fields." — NPR Music Song of the Day selection
"On their new album No More Rain, The Steel Wheels deliver harmony-driven music with such a melding of different styles, trying to describe it with a single term would require far too many hyphens. There's trad country in there, to be sure, some gospel and bluegrass, even the occasional harkening to 70s rock. But, the main thread running throughout the disc is the energy the band stirs up. Like a late spring thunderstorm rolling over the hills of their native Virginia, there are figurative gusts of wind and brilliant colors. There is stirring four-part harmony and intense instrumental interplay." —The Bluegrass Situation
"If you've heard them, you know what I mean. There are plenty of great musical acts out on the road, all making great music. And yet, there are those few who are so distinctly unique, in their own way, they stand above the rest. The Steel Wheels have that something extra that makes them one of those bands that can write their own ticket in this new era of live string music." — Greg Tutwiler, Americana Rhythm Magazine
"If one must compare The Steel Wheels to another act in order to get an idea of their music imagine a blend of the passion of the Avett Brothers, the instrumentals of Old Crow Medicine Show and then sprinkle in the backwoods feel of The Legendary Shack Shakers. In truth attempting to compare them with anyone is an injustice, since after one listen you can hear that they stand very well on their own perch." — John Walker, Americana Roots
"Everybody Loved them!!!!" — Dalis Allen, Kerrville Folk Festival
"You have a front-row couch with No More Rain, and The Steel Wheels play their hearts out. Aumericana, Folk, Country - yes, but more importantly, authentic."" — Mary Sue Twohy, The Village, SiriusXM
"There were many points during their performance that their perfectly executed vocal harmonies or master level musicianship took one's breath away. They are so much more than words can describe...I believe everyone in our audience will agree that we tasted a little bit of music heaven tonight." — Alan Vajdos, Rear Window Listening Room
"The Steel Wheels were a great hit - standing ovations and demand for an encore which almost never happens at the festival." — Don Burland, Blue Ridge Mountain Music Festival
"The Steel Wheels are certainly going places... on the line between old timey folk and something raw, new and bluegrassy. Catch Trent and company on their way to fame and glory." — Cover Lay Down
"The audience was blown away by The Steel Wheels." — Paige Travis, Tennessee Shines live radio show, WDVX
"Wagler proves he is a songwriter to be reckoned with here, coming up with tunes that are simultaneously smart, classic, and genuine. All four players add just the right flavors to the mix, making this band sound much bigger than the sum of its parts." — BabySue blog
"Shenandoah Valley's newest, and brightest, songwriting force." — Blueridge Outdoors Magazine
"The Steel Wheels break down some bluegrass stereotypes, bringing youth and thoughtfulness to a vibrant American art form." — Rich Warren, Folkstage WFMT
"The Steel Wheels are amazing, captivating, entertaining, all rolled into one sweet and neat package of energy...So glad we were able to enjoy them early on in their career. Now we've got all the rest of our days to watch them mature and master the arts." — Chris Kramer-Harnage, The Folk Club of Reston-Herndon
"I absolutely am nuts for The Steel Wheels. Amazing talent. I hear a lot of stuff and I was just stunned by this band." — Julie Sullivan, Pickin' in the Pines Bluegrass and Acoustic Music Festival, Flagstaff, AZ
"The show went amazing and The Steel Wheels killed, just like I knew they would.” — Adam Harris, Assistant Producer, Mountain Stage
"Fiddle-rich and mandolin-driven, their music includes all the elements I most appreciate in acoustiblue music- energy, strong and distinctive lead vocals that are supported and complemented by acute harmony, instrumental proficiency, originality tied to tradition, new songs that sound old and traditional songs that sound as they always have.” — Donald Teplyske, Roots Music
"The Steel Wheels travel along a path through the listener's ears and aim directly for the heart." — Dirty Linen
"I never got so many people telling me this was the best band of all time." — Lynda Baer, Music on the Steps concert series
"Wagler's voice is a supple instrument with an expressive bite." — Bluegrass Unlimited
"Forces to be reckoned with for awhile." — Ben Cisneros, 9513 Country Music
"Songs that recall a more familiar time and yet sound fresh and creative." — Tina Owens, Acoustic Cafe
"That was an absolutely amazing show The Wheels put on !!!!!" — Dennis Frost, Charlotte Folk Society
"A melting pot of bluegrass and blues, country and old-time sing-alongs, The Steel Wheels bring the energy of the stage into the studio." — Bluegrass Unlimited
"There is purity and power in the sound of this band that few come close to tapping. Tight pickin', passionate energy, and Wagler's voice soars like an eagle. Their new album Red Wing captures the spirit of their great live performances." — Martin Anderson, WNCW
The Steel Wheels have enthralled audiences across the country with their heady brew of original soulful mountain music. Based in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, this dynamic band marries old-time musical traditions with their own innovative sound. Trent Wagler's weathered tenor is joined by bell-clear four-part harmonies inspired by a 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 it's no surprise that The Steel Wheels have burst onto the Americana scene, becoming festival favorites and selling out venues across the country.
No More Rain, The Steel Wheels' third album out April 16th, begins with the lyric, "I want to walk away and start over again." The line, from Tom Waits' "Walk Away," fits the theme of the album, a retrospective from the acclaimed acoustic band. According to Trent Wagler, the band's principal songwriter and vocalist, "These are songs we wrote and played together when we first met, some even pre-date the band's debut. It's been fun to hand pick and revisit some of the fan favorites and bring them back with a new energy and sound."
The Steel Wheels have captured fans with their raw energy and chemistry, having played both Merlefest and Mountain Stage - and this year; they will be performing at the heralded Stagecoach Festival. As the band thrives, so do their partnerships with local businesses, artisans, and charitable organizations. The values portrayed in their music - devotion to roots, community, and family - are a way of life for The Steel Wheels, and this is reflected in everything from production process and booking agency to merchandise and touring.
For the past three years, they have performed an annual SpokeSongs bicycle music tour, during which band members tow their instruments, equipment, and merchandise from one gig to another via bicycle and blog about their adventures.
The band's merchandise represents a host of grassroots connections to people and businesses. Lucas Roasting Company, located just outside of Harrisonburg, created "Halfway to Heaven" coffee in honor of the band located on Afton. Blue Mountain Brewery, located on Afton Mountain in Virginia, hosted the band when they were just getting started and now distributes the "Steel Wheels ESB" across the east coast. The band's T-shirts are made in downtown Harrisonburg, and a potter who is a childhood friend of Jay's makes their mugs. Each business is local for the band, and each product is intimately woven into their narrative.
To cap off the theme of getting back to their roots, the band is launching the Red Wing Roots Music Festival in the Shenandoah Valley this July. The 3-day festival will include the best of today's neo-traditional artists, and takes its name from the old tune "Red Wing", which Wagler learned from his grandfather and brought to the band with new lyrics. The song represents a commitment to roots, but also the propensity of The Steel Wheels to propel those musical traditions forward.