Weekly Concert Preview: The Wheeler Brothers bring Texas charm to the Hamilton
Following the current trend in folk-rock, The Wheeler Brothers deliver rock music with a twang. Mellow vocals mingle with bouncy piano notes and the sound of lap steel, bringing an alternative touch to their Americana. The five-piece Texas band and five-time Austin Music Awards winners are coming to the Hamilton on March 23 to promote their sophomore album, Gold Boots Glitter, which will debut on April 2.
Brothers Nolan, Tyler, and Patrick Wheeler, A.J Molyneaux, and Danny Matthews began playing together at the Wheelers’ house in Austin, Tex. when they were in high school. After graduation, all except Molyneaux, who headed to the University of Texas, continued to play together at Louisiana State University. When they returned to Austin, the five came back together and began playing around the neighborhood.
They’re currently busy filming music videos for the songs set to be released on their next album between performances, but their fans remain the first priority. “For us it’s just about writing great music, playing killer shows, and staying in touch with our fans,” said Nolan Wheeler. The group does certainly live up to these goals: They have a special cell phone for their fans to call (512-983-5934) and hope to play 200 shows by Christmas this year.
The Wheeler Brothers draw on a wide variety of sounds for inspiration: from Willie Nelson and Townes van Zandt to Wilco and Radiohead. So far, they have released only their first album, Portraits. Overall, the record delivers rock with a twang that is sometimes dominant, as in “Mississippi” or “Sleep When I’m Dead,” and other times muted, as in “Call Me in the Morning.”
Their songs are imaginative and touching, ranging from sad and mellow “Portraits” to poppy anthem “Call Me in the Morning.” Perhaps most characteristic of The Wheeler Brothers is “Spent Time,” whose lyrics imagine the feelings of a prisoner just released from jail. This song falls brings just the right amount of twang and balances the folksy sound of lap steel with a strong beat on the bass and the sound of trumpets. Additionally, Nolan Wheeler’s lovely vocals tie the elements of the song together nicely.
Their concert promises to deliver fun and lively music, as well as include a hint of things to come on Gold Boots Glitter. Fans of the Punch Brothers and the Lumineers in particular will be drawn to The Wheeler Brothers’ brand of folk-rock, but the show will be enjoyable for anyone ready to kick back and enjoy the Americana.
The Wheeler Brothers will play with the 19th St. Band this Saturday, March 23 at 8:30 p.m. Doors open at 7. Tickets can be purchased for $17 on the Hamilton’s website.
Photo: New Slang via Flickr