The Adventure Never Ends – The Wheelhouse Rousters

Inspired by the natural environs of their native Kentucky, The Wheelhouse Rousters have developed a devoted populist following courtesy of the fact that they’re certified festival favorites, having made appearances at such high profile gatherings as Bourbon and Beyond, Telluride Bluegrass Festival, Americanafest, Terrapin Hill Harvest Festival, Lowertown Arts and Music Festival, and the John Hartford Memorial Festival, among the many. In addition, they had the high honor of representing the US at the World Folk Biennale in Jinju, South Korea, which gave them the opportunity to collaborate with UNESCO artists from across the globe.

Those are heady accomplishments to be sure, and given the general acclaim they’ve acquired over the course of their decade-long career, one might have forgiven them if their pretension ever measured up to their proficiency. Fortunately then, as their current album, the tellingly-titled The Adventure Never Ends, demonstrates so decidedly, the band chooses instead to center their songs on emphatic emotion while also offering a true reflection of their roots.

The group, which consists of vocalist and guitarist Eddie Coffey, singer and guitarist Logan Oakley, banjo player Nathan Lynn, fiddler and mandolin player Josh Coffey, and double bassist Jake Siener, has fashioned a set of mostly original songs that veer from sentimental sojourns to those flush with rousing revelry, and never falters in-between. Two traditional tunes — Who Broke the Lock and Midnight On the Water —  vary in tone and treatment, the former courtesy of a singular strut, and the latter offering a more measured pace that shares rustic references. 

It’s all part and parcel of a well-considered approach, further reflected in the heartfelt sound of Kentucky Seoul (an obvious play on their international outreach), the slow saunter of So Many Days, and the solemn-sounding title track, as well as more uptempo tunes, such as Someone Else In the Room, Kimichi Boogie, and the jaunty instrumental, Feels Like Saying

Despite the frequent shift in sound, The Adventure Never Ends remains consistently compelling throughout, a celebratory statement that affirms The Wheelhouse Rousters’ standing as one of the most exuberant and engaging outfits operating in newgrass realms today. One can only hope that — true to its title — the adventure continues on indefinitely.

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About the Author

Lee Zimmerman

Lee Zimmerman has been a writer and reviewer for the better part of the past 20 years. He writes for the following publications — No Depression, Goldmine, Country Standard TIme, Paste, Relix, Lincoln Center Spotlight, Fader, and Glide. A lifelong music obsessive and avid collector, he firmly believes that music provides the soundtrack for our lives and his reverence for the artists, performers and creative mind that go into creating their craft spurs his inspiration and motivation for every word hie writes.