[Cover photo credit to Mike Lee]
Virginia-based Americana band The Steel Wheels have announced that their new record Sideways will arrive on February 9, 2024 via Big Ring Records. The group has also shared the first single from the LP “Easy On Your Way,” a “hymn-like anthem to find solace in during life’s hard moments that defy explanation.”
The song, like the album “in its entirety” send a message of “hope and resiliency.” The track arrived with a black-and-white in-studio clip that reveals the band’s creative process.
Frontman Trent Wagler says of the single:
This song is for when you don’t have the words. It acknowledges the hardest of the hard stuff, because no one is served by ignoring the pain, but it also looks you dead in the eye and says, ‘We’re all in this together’ in the least cliche way possible. Let’s celebrate that life doesn’t make sense and show up with the tools to rebuild the barn after the tree falls on the roof.
The Steel Wheels have been going for nearly 20 years, and now with their 13th album Sideways, they’ve become even more adventurous. Produced by Sam Kassirer (Lake Street Dive, Langhorne Slim, Josh Ritter), Sideways takes influence from Psychedelic Rock, Pop, Jam and more to expand upon their Appalachian sound.
The group, and particularly lead songwriter Wagler, wrote many of the album’s songs “in response to loss and the fearful uncertainty that comes with facing what we can’t control.” In 2019, The Steel Wheels were blindsided by the death of fiddle player and vocalist Eric Brubaker’s young daughter to a rare disease. And during the pandemic, Wagler’s child faced a mental health crisis that left Wagler and his family “feeling lost and frustrated inside our country’s mental health care system.”
This album is dedicated to people who understand that even when we’re growing sideways, we’re still growing. If you had a five year plan a few years ago, I bet it didn’t quite come to fruition. These are songs that celebrate the Both/And of life. We are grieving and we are laughing. We are suffering and we are growing. We are isolated and we are connected. May it be again and again, cue music.
The Steel Wheels 2023 Tour Dates
September 17 – Indianapolis, IN @ Hi-Fi
September 29 – Cornelius, NC @ Cain Center for the Arts
September 30 – Yadkinville, NC @ Willingham Theater
October 10 – Nashville, TN @ Analog
October 11 – Kansas City, MO @ Knuckleheads
October 12 – Hastings, NE @ The Lark
October 13 – Omaha, NE @ Holland Performing Arts Center
October 14 – Denver, CO @ Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox
October 15 – Wray, CO @ 4th and Main
October 18 – Salt Lake City, UT @ The State Room
October 19 – Boise, ID @ The Olympic
October 20 – Bend, OR @ Volcanic Theatre Pub
October 21 – Spokane, WA @ The District Bar at Knitting Factory
October 22 – Seattle, WA @ Ballard Homestead
November 8 – Portland, OR @ Alberta Rose Theatre
November 14 – Tucson, AZ @ Hotel Congress