STEEL WHEELS, LAY DOWN LAY LOW

STEEL WHEELS
LAY DOWN LAY LOW

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I didn’t think I could review the entire disc, because my CD became permanently stuck on track three. I couldn’t stop listening to “Rain In The Valley,” an incredible harmonic convergence from this quintet. A solid bass drum lick and some extra percussion seasoned lightly throughout flavors the impeccable a cappella vocals. But the pleasure doesn’t stop there. The Steel Wheels rolled out with fiddler Eric Brubaker on the opening mid-tempo track “Breaking Like The Sun.” Trent Wagler (guitar & banjo), Jay Lapp (mandolin & guitar), Brian Dickel (bass) all pull together for a tight creative unit on the independent group’s eighth CD, and Oliver Craven with resonator guitar, fiddle, and vocals chimes in with just the right amount of musical finesse. On top of the vocal and instrumental greatness, Steel Wheels hit a grand slam with their songwriting skills. Wagler and Lapp wrote the entire CD, some collaborations and others solo efforts like Wagler’s “Andrea.” You’re nothing like your father, don’t let the doctors tell you so/All the pills and the bottle, there’s no rock that you can’t roll/You write the next chapter, that’s a book I want to read/You can sing it from the rafters, you can sell it on the streets. Lapp’s creation, the instrumental “Nola’s First Dance,” will have you dancing a jig. A melting pot of bluegrass and blues, country and old-time sing-alongs, Steel Wheels bring the energy of the stage into the studio for a must-have album. (Steel Wheels, P.O. Box 1759, Harrisonburg, VA 22803, www.thesteelwheels.com.)BC

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