Like a thunderstorm rolling over the hills of their native Virginia, The Steel Wheels perform with an energy that mesmerizes. Their music melds styles from traditional country to gospel, bluegrass to 70s rock. With Trent Wagler’s weathered tenor joined by bell-clear four-part harmonies, Eric Brubaker’s lively and evocative fiddle, Brian Dickel’s grounded yet buoyant upright bass, and Jay Lapp’s signature mandolin style, the Steel Wheels have become festival favorites. A dynamic four-piece string band marrying old-time musical traditions to an innovative sound, they will draw you in with their soulful mountain music for a truly magnetic revival.
Songwriter Katie Powderly, formerly a long-term Madisonian, now resides in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Maryland with her Americana band, The Unconditional Lovers.
She has shared bills with Tony Rice, Del McCoury Band, Lake Street Dive, and many others. Her singing and harmonies have been likened to Gillian Welch (Isthmus, Madison, WI) and Gram Parsons (City Paper, Rochester, NY.)
Powderly's first album, Slips of the Tongue (2012, Red-Winged Blackbird Records) was recorded in Madison at Smart Studios, where Smashing Pumpkins recorded "Gish" and Nirvana recorded parts of "Nevermind." Accompanying her on that recording were many Madison musicians you'll likely recognize.
While opening for The Steel Wheels she will perform as a stripped-down acoustic duo with guitarist Evan Whalen.