The Steel Wheels tackle a new phase of parenthood on "Baby Gone," new album out 2/9

Article Contributed by Missing Piece Group | Published on Saturday, October 14, 2023

When Trent Wagler, frontman/primary songwriter for the Virginia-based Americana band The Steel Wheels, was sending his daughter off to college, he finally understood how one person’s coming of age could be another person’s letting go. Today, the band shares new single “Baby Gone,” the second release from their upcoming LP Sideways (out 2/9 via Big Ring Records), and it chronicles Wagler’s experience with this. A jaunty track featuring a frenetic banjo, a mysteriously slinky fiddle and a funky bass riff, “Baby Gone” expertly details the complexities and duality of parenthood. Listen to it HERE. Also today, The Steel Wheels have announced a run of 2024 tour dates to accompany the release of the new album. See a full list of dates below and at

Listen to “Baby Gone”

Watch the official “Baby Gone” visualizer via YouTube

Pre-order/pre-save Sideways

“This was written as I said goodbye to my daughter (literally my "baby" girl), as she left for college,” shares Wagler. “It’s trying to manage the sadness of seeing inevitable change and loss, alongside the hope of future growth and positive change. The transformation of parenting is one that goes from being needed completely to understanding that many of the future adventures will have absolutely nothing to do with you. Your role as parent has fundamentally changed – as it should.”

The Steel Wheels are a band that has been redefining what it means to be Americana for nearly 20 years, and now with their 13th album Sideways, they’ve managed to create their most sonically adventurous full-length yet – a far cry from the band’s origins as an all-acoustic traditional string band. 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 distinctly Appalachian sound. From the LP, the band has shared first single “Easy On Your Way,” which earned praise from No Depression, Folk Alley, DittyTV and more.

Never ones to shy away from heavy topics, the group – particularly Wagler, its lead songwriter – penned many of the songs in response to loss and the fearful uncertainty that comes with facing what we can’t control. In 2019, The Steel Wheels were blindsided by the death of fiddle player and vocalist Eric Brubaker’s young daughter to a rare disease. And during the pandemic, Wagler’s child faced a mental health crisis that left Wagler and his family feeling lost and frustrated inside our country’s mental health care system.

“This album is dedicated to people who understand that even when we're growing sideways, we're still growing,” explains Wagler. “If you had a five year plan a few years ago, I bet it didn't quite come to fruition. These are songs that celebrate the Both/And of life. We are grieving and we are laughing. We are suffering and we are growing. We are isolated and we are connected. May it be again and again, cue music.”

Since 2005, The Steel Wheels have been melding the traditional with the contemporary, while always remaining firmly rooted in the sounds of the Virginia mountains where the band was formed. In 2017, the band first collaborated with Kassirer on the 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 its road-dog mentality, spending many nights of the year on the road. The guys are currently on tour, and for a full list of dates, please see below or visit

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
October 10 – Nashville, TN @ Analog
October 11 – Kansas City, MO @ Knuckleheads
October 12 – Hastings, NE @ The Lark
October 13 – Omaha, NE @ Holland Performing Arts Center
October 14 – Denver, CO @ Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox
October 15 – Wray, CO @ 4th and Main
October 16 – Wray, CO @ 4th and Main
October 18 – Salt Lake City, UT @ The State Room
October 19 – Boise, ID @ The Olympic
October 20 – Bend, OR @ Volcanic Theatre Pub
October 21 – Spokane, WA @ The District Bar at Knitting Factory
October 22 – Seattle, WA @ Ballard Homestead
November 8 – Portland, OR @ Alberta Rose Theatre
November 10 – Prosser, WA @ Brewminatti
November 13 – Phoenix, AZ @ Musical Instrument Museum
November 14 – Tucson, AZ @ Hotel Congress
November 15 – Santa Fe, NM @ Tumbleroot Brewery
January 12 – Thomas, WV @ Purple Fiddle Cafe
January 13 – Thomas, WV @ Purple Fiddle Cafe
January 14 – Morgantown, WV @ Mountain Stage
January 15 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Club Cafe
January 16 – Cleveland, OH @ Music Box Supper Club
January 18 – Durham, NC @ Fletcher Hall Auditorium *
February 2 – Elkin, NC @ Reeves Theater
February 21 – Wichita, KS @ The Wave
February 24 – Cedar Rapids, IA @ CSPS Hall
February 27 – Milwaukee, WI @ Shank Hall
February 28 – Berwyn, IL @ FitzGerald’s
February 29 – Ann Arbor, MI @ The Ark
March 1 – Cincinnati, OH @ The Ludlow Garage
March 3 – Columbia, SC @ The Senate *

* - with Donna The Buffalo

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