Wheeler Brothers at Rams Head On Stage Sunday, March 23rd *12:30 PM Matinee* – (by Matt Ellis)

WHEELER_BROTHERS_PRESS6Photo Credit:  wheelerbrothersmusic.com

The Wheeler Brothers might seem to fit right in with the new generation’s wave of scruffy, long-haired indie folk rock look-alike bands:  armed with a family namesake and a wardrobe full of vests and suspenders, gleaning inspiration from 70s era country rock, and aping the ingenuity of current festival scene leaders like the Avett Brothers, Mumford and Sons, and Kings of Leon.  But further inspection of the Wheelers finds this southern brotherhood has more in common with alt. country pioneers like Golden Smog and Uncle Tupelo. 

Hailing from Austin, Texas, the Wheeler Brothers add a rough, roots rock edge to the light and bouncy mainstream folk rock formula, building up from calm indie folk pop to cosmic Americana, before cranking the volume up to some heavy blues and alternative country rock, all in one song.  They play around with song structures that you wouldn’t expect to hear in country rock, but it all works and seems fresh compared to their peers.  

Lead singer Nolan Wheeler, one of three Wheeler brothers in the five-man band, has a voice that can carry softly off the brick walls of a dimly lit dive bar or echo with a hard rock harshness that helps elevate this group’s volume and versatility above that of their contemporaries. Together, the Wheeler Brothers form a rambunctious fraternity, and their music videos reflect that fun-loving personality just as strongly as their music. 

In the video for “Call Me in the Morning,” you can see the good ol’ Southern boys knocking back a few brews and paddling around a country lake before barbequing down at the Wheeler Family Ranch.  These guys are playing for sheer enjoyment and it’s great to see them have such a good time making homegrown roots rock with their friends and family.  It feels more authentic that way.

The Wheeler Brothers have two albums available and are currently touring in support of Gold Boots Glitter, which came out last April, 2013 (Portaits is their first album).  Check out another video below, “Spent Time,” and come check out this up-and-coming band this Sunday, March 23rd at Rams Head On Stage, with opener Desert Noises beginning at 12:30 p.m.

– Matt Ellis

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