Friday, June 28, 2013
– The Steel Wheels, who released its third album, "No More Rain," in April are preparing to launch the inaugural Red Wing Roots Festival July 12-14 to be held near the band's hometown in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.
The festival features The Del McCoury Band, Pokey LaFarge, Preservation Jazz Hall Band, Sarah Siskind, Tim O'Brien, Sam Bush, The Duhks, J.D. McPherson, Yarn and Scott Miller. More than 40 bands will play on 4 stages.
In August, The Steel Wheels will perform 8 shows in 9 days on the fourth annual "Spokesongs Tour." On these tours, the band commutes the entire distance between shows on bicycles pulling all their instruments, merchandise and other gear on attached carts, without extra personnel.
"We had some that were long on the last tour, at least 2 75-mile rides before a show (10 shows in 11 days), and 1 day we didn't play but biked 100 miles," says Trent Wagler, lead singer of the band.
"Distances will be shorter this trip, some of them 40 miles or less. There is something about being exhausted and determined that comes through in our shows on the bike tours," said Wagler. "There is a little bit more of a live nerve on stage, it strips away pretense and energy is different - the shows don't suffer, but are the better for it. Every year brings on new challenges; last year it was biking across mountains, and this year it will be the heat since it will be late August."
Formed by four friends in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, The Steel Wheels play original soulful mountain music. Wagler's tenor is joined by four-part harmonies inspired by a shared Mennonite heritage. Others in the band are Eric Brubaker on fiddle, Brian Dickel on upright bass and Jay Lapp on mandolin.