Western Virginia fiddler Shannon Wheeler has released a debut EP album. It’s called Growler, and features 4 fiddle tunes (2 of them originals), and a vocal.
Wheeler is an active road and session player in the Virginia/North Carolina scene, and has toured on the national scene with The Churchmen and Larry Keel.
Not one to fear being upstaged on his first solo project, Shannon enlisted grade-A soloists Scott Vestal on banjo and Sierra Hull on mandolin to assist in the studio. Virginia standouts Glenn Waller and Jason Tomlin handle guitar and bass respectively.
This short set of tunes finds Wheeler at home with old time, bluegrass and contest-style fiddle. The title track is a powerful three-part tune he wrote with a strong Monroe/Baker vibe. It’s a real showcase, of the sort that you want to start over as soon as it ends.
The other original is the opening track, Big Zeek, played as a banjo/fiddle duet with Vestal. It seems we don’t hear Scott as often these days on bluegrass records now that he is working with Sam Bush, but goodness gracious, can he play!
Another standout is Brown County Barn, from the Bill Monroe catalog. Big Mon cut the song on his Bluegrass ’87 album with twin fiddles, but Wheeler tackles it on his own. Once again Shannon, Scott and Sierra tear it up.
The lone vocal has Tomlin on Randall Hilton and Paul Craft’s Slowly Getting You Out Of The Way.
You can hear the whole project on Wheeler’s web site. It’s a good’n.