Trent Wagler of The Steel Wheels connected with WNRN earlier this winter for the first time since his group’s 2020 tour dates were cancelled mere hours after the band departed from their Harrisonburg, VA headquarters.
Rather than pacing the floor or indulging in worse habits, Wagler described reaching out to the band’s fans for song requests, which quickly bloomed into an ambitious recording project of “5 to 6 songs a week”, including updated versions of the band’s old work, oddball covers, and a third option of writing and recording a made-to-order song – an option that soon resulted in nearly twenty five new songs.
By tapping their inner Wrecking Crew as full time home studio musicians, members were able to stretch out musically and develop new skills by the sheer variety of work the project demanded.
“You come into the studio and you think, what are the three songs I’m working on today. I might be singing harmonies on a song we started last week or playing guitar to a click track…”
With songs originally intended for a small audience the band felt free to chase their creative whims into territory far from the contemporary roots music they are known for, verging into sunny Paul Simon-flavored pop, jam band friendly grooves, and other stylistic flourishes.
Similarly the songwriting process was a stretch and Wagler spoke at length about the challenges as well as the inspiration that came from writing about other people’s real life experiences.
“Every single one of them had some true story behind it. I think that was – from the writing aspect – was new and exciting, and also a little intimidating!”
Learn more about Everyone A Song: Volume One, the new album from the Steel Wheels, as well as their We Made You A Song podcast that tells the real life stories behind all nine new songs go to their website at www.thesteelwheels.com