The Steel Wheels

Wild As We Came Here – 2017 (Big Ring)

Reviewed by Lee Zimmerman

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CDs by The Steel Wheels

The Steel Wheels are one of those bands that are keen to convince their listeners that theirs is not your granddaddy's bluegrass. Like Punch Brothers, Infamous Stringdusters and the Steep Canyon Rangers, the band they seem to parallel the most in terms of sound and style, The Steel Wheels are less fervent about the particulars and given to providing more attention to melody and nuance. So while there's a decided emphasis on a pluck and a strum, the songs surge with booth soothing tones and their a less fettered brand of tenacity.

The songs are so consistently accessible that even a cursory listen strongly suggests further hearings will be in order, simply for the sake of appreciating the material to the maximum. The adroit skill and sensitivity evidenced in "Hold On," "Till No One Is Else," "Scrape Me Off the Ceiling," "Sing Me Like a Folk Song" and the title track may seem subdued at first, but as each track progresses, they work their way under the skin and refuse to loosen the grip. If nothing else, The Steel Wheels are masters of subtlety; they make no attempt to overwhelm or overindulge, but, rather, use their prowess and proficiency to leave an enduring impression.

Granted, The Steel Wheels haven't yet caught the attention shown the aforementioned contemporaries. Their subtle approach may be at least one reason; it's easily to grab audiences with a rowdy regimen and a flashier finesse. Still, "Wild As We Came Here" is an album well worthy of recognition, and in a world where glitz and glam tend to steal the spotlight, the "Wild" and the retrained seem solidly in sync.