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The Steel Wheels (website here) Make Queen City Debut at May 13th CFS Gathering

The Charlotte Folk Society is pleased to present Americana band The Steel Wheels in their Queen City concert debut. Come discover why there's such a buzz about these young men -- we're confident you'll quickly join the ranks of Wheels' fans. The music gets underway at 7:30 PM at our next Gathering on Friday, May 13th, in the beautiful listening room of the Great Aunt Stella Center, 926 Elizabeth Avenue, in Charlotte. Doors open at 7 PM.

CFS Gatherings are family-friendly and free. Donations, essential to presenting this concert series, are greatly appreciated. A short refreshment break follows the hour-long concert. Afterwards, join a song circle or a jam session -- slow or fast -- listeners welcomed. The Charlotte Appalachian Dulcimer Club meets after the concert and invites visitors to try out a "loaner" instrument.

Free surface parking is available adjacent to the Stella Center. The arm of the nearby parking deck goes up for the weekend at 7 PM. Visitors who pick up tickets on their way in won't be charged if they leave after 8 PM. Accessible entry and an elevator are available through the ground-level door next to the parking lot.

Unlike his Amish grandfather who had to form a string band in secret, Trent Wagler is anything but reticent about making music with The Steel Wheels. Like his harmonica-playing grandpa, Trent and the band both respect and break tradition with every note. The band is creating tremendous excitement with their blend of great songwriting, passionate vocals, and tight instrumentals. Truly an Americana band, they are rooted in musical styles that explore the territories between blues and bluegrass, hand-clapping gospel and foot-stomping fiddle tunes.

The Steel Wheels are centered in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, where multi-instrumentalist Jay Lapp was born and took inspiration from church hymns and folk fests, and where Trent Wagler has been a music scene staple for nearly a decade. Lapp was touring with several successful midwestern bands when he and Wagler crossed paths in Harrisonburg, Virginia, and a musical partnership began which gave rise to the foursome of The Steel Wheels. Trent Wagler plays guitar and banjo, writes most of the band's material, and sings lead. Exceptional four-part harmonies support and accentuate Wagler's tenor, described by Bluegrass Unlimited as "a supple instrument with an expressive bite." Oliver Craven's fiddling both sets toes tapping and touches the heart. Jay Lapp's signature mandolin style is remarkable and unmistakable, while Brian Dickel's upright bass grounds the outfit.

Drawing from rich American music traditions while charting new territory with subtle innovation and decidedly modern energy, The Steel Wheels are electrifying audiences and lifting listeners to their feet from North Carolina to Calgary and Texas to New York City. With each concert, their loyal following grows -- a response to the quartet's authenticity, lyricism, musicianship, powerhouse harmonies, and palpable chemistry. "The Steel Wheels travel along a path through the listener's ears and aim directly for the heart." -- Dirty Linen

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The band has performed on West Virginia public radio's Mountain Stage and Chicago public radio station WFMT's Folkstage and at Americana festivals such as Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion, FloydFest, Folk Alliance, and Appalachian Uprising. Wagler and Lapp also regularly take a duo show to Ireland and have appeared with Peter Rowan at the Ards International Guitar Festival in Northern Ireland.

All told, band members have released six recordings -- two solo projects by Trent Wagler, two by the duo of Wagler and Lapp, and two by the full band. The Steel Wheels' spring 2010 album, Red Wing, ranked in the Americana Music Association's Top 100 Americana Albums of the Year, received five nominations in the Independent Music Awards, and was named "one of the best albums of the year" by Maverick magazine. "There is purity and power in the sound of this band that few come close to tapping. Tight pickin', passionate energy, and Wagler's voice soars like an eagle. Their new album Red Wing captures the spirit of their great live performances." -- Martin Anderson, Music Director/Morning Host WNCW

We heartily agree with Cover Lay Down magazine: "The Steel Wheels are certainly going places . . . on the line between old timey folk and something raw, new, and bluegrassy. Catch Trent and company on their way to fame and glory." See you there!

Charlotte Folk Society Gatherings are made possible, in part, with funding from the Arts & Science Council and the North Carolina Arts Council, an agency of the Department of Cultural Resources, and the National Endowment for the Arts, which believes that a great nation deserves great art.