The Prairie Window Concert Series will conclude its 2016-17 season with The Steel Wheels, a favorite of this series and of the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield.
The concert will be at 7 p.m. May 6 at the Wichita Orpheum Theatre in Wichita. Proceeds benefit the Dyck Arboretum of the Plains’ mission that promotes environmental landscaping with native plants.
Hailing from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, The Steel Wheels are familiar with the traditions of folk music and how a string band is supposed to sound. In fact, they’ve been drawing on those steadfast traditions for more than a decade. Yet, their name also evokes a sense of forward motion, which is clearly reflected in their newest 2017 album (May 5 release), Wild As We Came Here. This May 6 Orpheum Theatre show will be their first selling the new CD.
The Steel Wheels recorded their album in rural Maine, where producer Sam Kassirer (Lake Street Dive, Josh Ritter) owns a recording studio inside a renovated farmhouse from the 18th century. All four band members – Trent Wagler (guitar, banjo), Eric Brubaker (fiddle), Brian Dickel (upright bass) and Jay Lapp (mandolin) – hunkered down for a week and a half to create Wild As We Came Here.
The band’s name is a tip of the hat to steam-powered trains, industrial progress and the buggies of their Mennonite lineage. Their musical style weaves through Americana and bluegrass, folk and old-time music, and the acoustic poetry of the finest singer-songwriters. By incorporating percussion and keyboards into their recording sessions for the first time, Wild As We Came Here adds new textures to their catalog, as themes of discovery and perseverance run throughout the collection.
In July, the band hosts their own annual Red Wing Roots Music Festival (www.redwingroots.com) bringing over 40 bands to 4 stages for 3 days of music & community. In addition as the schedule allows, the band organizes and performs the SpokeSongs bicycle music tour, during which the band members tow their instruments, equipment and merchandise from one show to another via bicycle. Past tours have spanned up to 11 days, 600 miles and 10 shows. The attention from these special SpokeSongs tours allow the band to raise extra money and awareness for charities and causes along the way.
Reserved seating tickets ($29 including tax) are available at http://www.wichitaorpheum.com/events/557/the-steel-wheels/ and INTRUST Bank Arena Box Office at 500 E. Waterman St. or 855-755-7328. Additional convenience fees will apply when ordering via phone or on-line.