Wednesday, October 14, 2020
– In the first few months of a worldwide pandemic, bluegrass-rockers The Steel Wheels took to their own home studios and got to work. Recording more than 60 songs, the group landed on a concept, "Distance Together." The results will be out Nov. 20 on "Everyone A Song, Vol. 1."
Conceived by The Steel Wheels' 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. Wagler set the personal stories of fans to song and verse. Some songs were written for individuals, some for friends and families—many were specific to a time and place—and some were commissioned for weddings and anniversaries or to commemorate a lost loved one or the completion of a life's work.
At the end of the process, The Steel Wheels — Brian Dickel, Wagler, Jay Lapp, Eric Brubaker and Kevin Garcia — decided to put out a nine-song album.
The first single is "The Healer," which celebrated the retirement of a physical therapist's 38-year long career. Before making it onto the album, "The Healer" was used during a socially distanced retirement party as a special gift to commemorate an amazing career.
"As the family recalled stories from [the subject's] life, it was clear that her healing skills were not limited to the workplace," said Wagler.
The process behind this new album was also documented in an accompanying podcast, We Made You A Song. Each episode dives into the creation of a song on the album. Wagler interviewed the band as well as the actual subjects of each song.
"Everyone A Song, Vol. 1 " was born out of a desire to close the distance created in the midst of the Covid-19 shutdown. "Maybe I was dreaming of being an essential worker," said Wagler. "It made me ask the question: what's essential about music? It's the connection. The understanding. The beauty and magic of melodies that transcend us with the words that say, 'You there, I see you, and you see me, and doesn't it feel good to not be alone in the world?' That's what art has to offer. Especially right now. And planting real stories right in the middle of it kind of pushed aside any other pretense or distraction about being cool or whatever."
The track listing is:
My Name is Sharon
Don't Want To Come Back Down
The Man Who Holds Up The World
Water And Sky
Florida Girl (Work For It)
Family Is Power