Music News & Reviews

Reviews of bluegrass music releases

THE STEEL WHEELS, "Over The Trees," Big Ring Records. 11 tracks

The Steel Wheels, based in Harrisonburg, Va., doesn't call itself a bluegrass band.

It uses the words "Americana roots."

They're a high-energy band with amazing harmonies and beautiful music.

But traditional bluegrass fans should be aware of the piano, keyboards, woodwinds and drums mixed in with the fiddle, banjo, guitar, mandolin and bass.

Trent Wagler, the band's lead vocalist, banjo and guitar player, wrote or co-wrote all 11 tracks.

He has said that "Over The Trees," the band's seventh album, is somewhat experimental.

"This Year," a song that predicts peace and love for the new year, is a beautiful a cappella number.

"Rains Come," a song about climate change, has almost an echo chamber sound.

"Get To Work" says that no matter what's happening in your life you have to shake it off and get on with life.

"Time To Rest" takes the opposite approach, saying that there's a time when you just need to rest.

Good album by a good band.

Just don't expect traditional bluegrass.

Look for it at

(Email Keith Lawrence at