In excitement and anticipation about Fayetteville Roots Festival coming up Aug. 23-26, I have been listening to some of the artists in this year’s lineup on iTunes, Pandora, and Spotify. I’ve been streaming the tunes through my wireless speaker and cranking it up while I did housework around the house.
It’s a great way to preview what is to come, enjoy the musicians you already know by heart, and discover new music. I also have to say I got a heck of a lot more cleaning done around the house while listening to these great artists and bands. Although, beware, it might cost you a little more money too because I bought two Darrell Scott albums and some singles from various artists as well during my listening sessions.
I’m excited to see John Prine again. I just saw him at the Hot Springs Songwriter Festival in June and enjoyed his storytelling about writing songs as much as hearing him sing them. Of course, I just bought Darrell Scott albums, so I can’t wait to hear him either. There are lots of regional bands I always love to catch playing: Trout Fishing in America, Still on the Hill, 3 Penny Acre. But I have to say I am especially excited to see The Steel Wheels.
I first saw them last winter at a Good Folk Productions house concert on Block Street in Fayetteville. Their CDs haven’t left my car CD player since, and I turn them up and sing along on iTunes all the time. I got to buy an early release of their latest album Lay Down, Lay Low when I saw them previously. The album, Red Wing, spent 13 weeks on the Americana Music Association Top 40 radio charts, topping out at #15 as well as cracking the top 10 of the EuroAmericana charts. Red Wing ranked #70 of the top 100 Americana albums of 2010 and #2 of all independent releases (Americana Music Association).
As their website puts it, “The Steel Wheels are truly an Americana band, rooted in musical styles that explore the territories between blues and bluegrass, old-time sing-alongs and foot-stompin’ fiddle tunes. They are subtle innovators who respect the past but whistle their own tunes, layering in rich textures and decidedly modern energy to forge a new sound.
“2010 was a breakout year for The Steel Wheels culminating with five nominations from The Independent Music Awards including “Nothing You Can’t Lose” taking top honors as “Best Country Song”. The four-piece band is based in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, where lead singer and primary songwriter Trent Wagler has been a scene staple for nearly a decade. Multi-instrumentalist Jay Lapp was touring with several successful Midwest bands when he and Wagler crossed paths in Harrisonburg, Virginia and a musical partnership began. The two are joined by upright bassist Brian Dickel and fiddler Eric Brubaker to form The Steel Wheels.”
You’ll find them mesmerizing in a live show. At least, I know I did. I still feel like I “drank the Kool-aid.” I’m a believer, sort of obsessed. In fact, I even contacted their Americana Agency to see if I could book them for a house concert at my very own house. I haven’t made that happen yet, but I still plan to. In the meantime, I can’t wait to hear them play again, and luckily I get to see them Thursday and Friday nights. You can even Ride With The Steel Wheels from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 24 when they guide a bike ride through Fayetteville and the Ozarks. Pretty cool.
“Rain in the Valley” is my absolute favorite song of theirs. Give it a listen by clicking here, where you can hear other great tunes as well, like “Spider Wings” and “Nothing You Can’t Lose.” (I’m listening to Pandora as I write this and it is playing Red Wings right now!)
Here’s a list of some of the artists that will be playing this weekend: John Prine; David Grisman Folk Jazz Trio; Darrell Scott; Pokey LaFarge; Gregory Alan Isakov; The Steel Wheels; Trout Fishing in America; Hoots and Hellmouth; David Mayfield Parade; Still on the Hill; Joy Kills Sorrow; 3 Penny Acre; Cletus Got Shot; Raina Rose; John Elliott; Terry Hendrix with Lloyd Maines; Carrie Elkin; Danny Schmidt; Carper Family Band; Ryan Spearman; Ben Bedford; Chad Elliott; Johann Wagner; David Glaser; Shannon Wurst, and many, many more….
Don’t miss out! Get you tickets by clicking here!
Listen to a Spotify playlist and Pandora Station made by Roots Festival fans Jason Young and Sarah Alexander by clicking below.