The Steel Wheels Enlist Frontman Trent Wagler’s Daughter For Playful Dance Routine In Music Video For New Single “Hero”

Article Contributed by Missing Piece Group | Published on Saturday, January 13, 2024

Today, Virginia-based Americana pioneers The Steel Wheels have shared new single/video “Hero” ahead of the February 9 release of Sidewaysvia the band’s own Big Ring Records. The music video features the band performing a playful and contemplative dance routine choreographed by Wagler’s daughter and five of her classmates in the dance & choreography program at Virginia Commonwealth University, all of whom also star in the clip. “Hero” was written in response to frontman/songwriter Trent Wagler trying to help one of his children through a mental health crisis, and it tracks his realization that you can't always be the ‘hero’ in everyone’s story — even those you love the most.

Also today, the group will begin their Sideways Tour with two shows at the Purple Fiddle in Thomas, WV. Later this weekend, they will appear on NPR’s Mountain Stage, taping live this Sunday January 14. Find a full list of tour dates below or visit

Watch the official “Hero” video via YouTube

Listen to “Hero”

Pre-order/pre-save Sideways

“‘Hero’ was written to describe the way we all cast ourselves in the leading role of our story, while also touching on some of the particular pitfalls of a white, straight, cis-gendered man trying to ‘help’ or ‘fix’ situations where I just need to be a supporting role,” shares Wagler. “I wrote this song in the midst of trying to help my child in a serious mental health crisis and needing to be ok with it being their story and really taking a backseat to try to listen and understand exactly what they were needing in the moment rather than what I NEEDED to tell them about the situation they were in.”

Nearly 20 years after debuting as an all-acoustic string band, The Steel Wheels have crafted an expansive album that mixes their knack for crafting big pop hooks with traditional Appalachian instrumentation. Produced by Sam Kassirer (Lake Street Dive, Langhorne Slim, Josh Ritter), Sideways takes influence from psychedelic rock, pop, jam and more to expand upon their distinct, well-established sound. Previous single “Wait On You” was featured at Relix who said, “As the sails of ‘Wait On You’ unfurl they unite and harmonize over the lyrics ‘They’re not going to wait on you’ before Wagler takes the lead with sweeping twangy words of wisdom moving the ship forward.” Additional singles like “Yes I Know” and “Easy On Your Way” have attracted early attention from No Depression, Folk Alley, The Bluegrass Situation and more.

The band first collaborated with Kassirer on 2017’s critically-acclaimed Wild As We Came Here, which features the now ubiquitous alt-folk battlecry “Scrape Me Off the Ceiling.” Through it all, The Steel Wheels have been about creating a community and sharing the experience of humanity with one another. Nowhere is this more evident than at the Red Wing Roots Music Festival, founded by the band in 2013. Taking place in the Shenandoah Valley, the festival has featured performances by Lucinda Williams, Billy Strings, Steve Earle & The Dukes, The Mavericks, Old Crow Medicine Show, Robert Earl Keen, Dawes, Trampled By Turtles and more. Outside of their own festival, the band is known for their road-dog mentality, spending many nights of the year on the road.

The Steel Wheels is Trent Wagler (vocals/guitar/banjo), Jay Lapp (guitar/mandolin/ vocals), Eric Brubaker (fiddle/vocals), Kevin Garcia (drums/percussion/mallet keyboards), Jeremy Darrow (bass).

The Steel Wheels 2023 + 2024 Tour Dates
January 12 – Thomas, WV @ Purple Fiddle
January 13 – Thomas, WV @ Purple Fiddle
January 14 – Morgantown, WV @ Mountain Stage
January 15 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Club Cafe
January 16 – Cleveland, OH @ Music Box
January 17 – Columbus, OH @ Woodlands Tavern
January 18 – Durham, NC @ Fletcher Hall at The Carolina Theater *
January 19 – Charlotte, NC @ Neighborhood Theatre *
January 20 – Harrisonburg, VA @ Wilson Hall #
January 31 – Chattanooga, TN @ Barrelhouse Ballroom
February 1 – Atlanta, GA @ City Winery
February 2 – Elkin, NC @ Reeves Theater
February 22-23 – Kansas City, MO @ Folk Alliance International
February 24 – Cedar Rapids, IA @ CSPS
February 25 – Minneapolis, MN @ The Parkway Theater
February 26 – Duluth, MN @ The West Theatre
February 27 – Milwaukee, WI @ Shank Hall
February 28 – Berwyn, IL @ FitzGerald’s
February 29 – Ann Arbor, MI @ The Ark
March 1 – Cincinnati, OH @ Ludlow Garage
March 2 – Asheville, NC @ The Salvage Station *
March 3 – Columbia, SC @ The Senate *
March 21 – Live Oak, FL @ Suwanee Spring Reunion
March 22 – Macon, GA @ Grant’s Lounge
March 23 – Athens, GA @ 40 Watt Club
March 24 – Charleston, SC @ Charleston Pour House
March 26 – Wilmington, NC @ Brooklyn Arts Center
March 27 – Richmond, VA @ The Broadberry
March 28 – Hagerstown, MD @ Live at Hub City Vinyl
March 29 – Lancaster, PA @ West Art
March 30 – Annapolis, MD @ Rams Head On Stage - Matinee
May 22 – Wichita, KS @ WAVE

* - with Donna The Buffalo
# - with Lindsay Lou

Sideways Tracklist
1. Wait On You
2. Baby Gone
3. Sideways
4. Hero
5. Enemy
6. Dissidents
7. Good Thing Now
8. Morning Before Long
9. Yes I Know
10. Past The Breaks
11. Easy On Your Way
12. Just Like The Wind