The Steel Wheels are an American roots music, Americana group of folk musicians, based in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. The Steel Wheels are a roots and Americana band, writing and playing music in the closely related but unique styles of blues, bluegrass, old-time music, and fiddle music. Virginia musician Trent Wagler is the lead vocalist and the band's primary songwriter. Jay Lapp (mandolin, guitar, vocals) had been touring in several bands throughout the Midwest when he and Trent met in Harrisonburg, Virginia. The musical partnership formed, and it was the first incarnation of The Steel Wheels. Later, the two were joined by Brian Dickel (upright bass) and Eric Brubaker (fiddle), and The Steel Wheels were born.
The Steel Wheels received seven nominations from The Independent Music Awards in 2010. Their song "Nothing You Can't Lose" (from the album Red Wing) received the highest award of "Best Country Song" in the 10th Annual IMA Awards, and in the Vox Pop Awards. "Working on a Building" also won "Best Gospel Song" in the 10th Annual IMA Vox Pop Awards. Red Wing earned very high marks from critics and received airplay on radio stations across several markets. The album charted for 13 weeks on the Americana Music Association Top 40 radio charts, hitting No. 15. It also made its way onto the EuroAmericana charts, finding its way into the top 10. It was ranked number two across all independent releases charted by the Americana Music Association, and number 70 on the top 100 Americana albums of 2010).
The Steel Wheels have appeared at numerous Americana festivals, including The Bristol Rhythm and Roots Festival, the Kerrville Folk Festival, FloydFest, the Albino Skunk Music Festival, the Smoky Hill River Fest, the Folk Alliance and Appalachian Uprising. Other notable venues they have played include the NPR Mountain Stage, Eddie's Attic, the Ark, the Bluebird Caféand the Calgary Folk Club. Trent Wagler and Jay Lapp have also played at the 'Ards International Guitar Festival in Ireland, with Peter Rowan.