I had the pleasure of seeing The Steel Wheels at the Musikfest Cafe in Bethlehem, PA on September 9th. One of the best shows I’ve seen in a long time. The band is an amazing group of musicians playing riveting and fun Americana. I’ve always loved listening to a variety of different styles of music and have played and recorded a lot of different types over the years. Over the last couple of years Americana and bluegrass has exerted a pull on me the same way punk and post-punk did years ago. The Steel Wheels show had all the points I love in that style. The instrumentation’s sonic mix is wonderful. Each instrument has it’s own voice and blends together like a vocal choir. As a result, the instruments don’t step on each other and can each be heard clearly even when everyone’s playing at full throttle. Standup Bass, guitar, banjo, fiddle and mandolin is a great mix. No real need for percussion since the style played is so rhythmic. The band also had incredible vocals and harmonies. For someone who is in to recording and sonics I loved that all the vocals were done live on one mic. The sound mix is controlled by the musicians by where they stand in relation to the mic and how much volume they give to their part. That’s not an easy thing to do, especially live. The Steel Wheels nailed it and the result gave you chills in the best possible way.
I’ve added some photos from the show and a few links to videos below. If you ever have a chance to see the band live or buy a CD I highly recommend it.
…and a live performance video…
Saw these guys on Letterman and just had to share it. At this point there may be nothing really ‘new’ or ‘original’ in the world of rock and roll. So what. Doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot of good stuff going on. At ChurchHouse we enjoy and record a lot of different styles – and try to share what we find on this blog as well as info on studio tech, the music business, art and whatever else floats our happy little boat. Watching this made me feel that balls to the wall badassery is alive and well. It’s one thing to do it in the studio but pulling it off live with a classic four person rock lineup…….
– Vintage Trouble on Letterman –