In the spirit of complete disclosure and unrepentant bias, I must admit to being an unabashed Trent Wagler fan.

Adrienna Valentine, the 2009 release from Wagler and Jay Lapp, last year earned the distinction of being, at any given moment, the record most likely to be found in my CD player and it was, by far, my favorite record of 2009. So, as you can imagine, it has been with much anticipation that I have been looking forward to the release of Red Wing, the new album from Wagler and his band, The Steel Wheels.

My anticipation was not unfounded, as Red Wing is a collection of songs representing all that is great about contemporary folk music. Combining roaring gospel harmonies with subtle Irish ballads, plucky claw hammer banjo with tender fiddle, Red Wing aptly represents what an amazing melting pot Appalachian music truly is.

Highlights from Red Wing include the title track, recorded in a log cabin living room and featuring guest appearances by legendary Virginia folkies Robin and Linda Williams, Eric Brubaker’s driving fiddle tune “Dragging Your Heels,” the brotherly advice – and bluesy swagger – of “Nothing You Can’t Lose,” and the tender “Walk This Way For Awhile.”

The word is spreading about Wagler and his mates in The Steel Wheels – the aforementioned Lapp and Brubaker, and bassist Brian Dickel – and their tours are, more and more often, taking them farther away from their Shenandoah Valley homes. Expect Red Wing to continue that trend and to establish The Steel Wheels as the one Virginia band that Americana music fans need to hear.

For Fans Of:

Tim O’Brien, Townes Van Zandt, Jerry Garcia

Prime Cut:

“Surround Me” – The four part harmonies in this Sunday-go-to-meeting spiritual shake the rafters and your soul.

Choice Words:

“In the summer sun, in 1981,

The day was long, til I heard the song whistle like the wind.

I was standing there but dust was flying through the air,

Like days before when we believed in things we could not see.”

—From “Red Wing”

The Greener Side:

The packaging for Red Wing is totally Earth friendly, complete with a disc tray made of potato – yes, potato – byproduct.

On Stage:

Catch Trent Wagler and Jay Lapp in Palmyra, VA, as part of the Village Concerts series on March 10th and The Steel Wheels in Frederick, MD, at Café Nola on March 11th.  For more tour info and where you can pick up your copy of Red Wing, surf over to www.trentwagler.com.