At the same time as announcing the signing of Johnny Williams, Mountain Roads Recordings of Bristol, Tennessee, advised me of the signing of the new bluegrass gospel group Wheeler from Weber City, Virginia.
Wheeler was established in April of this year and comprises Tiffany Wheeler (lead/harmony vocals), Kevin Wheeler (lead/harmony vocals, bass), Mark Jackson (lead/harmony, mandolin), Justin Salver (guitar) and Steven Mounts (banjo). Tiffany and Kevin have been married 7 years this past June 9th.
I spoke to Kevin Wheeler about the band ‚Ä¶‚Ä¶
“We are a bluegrass gospel group, but I like to refer to ourselves as a bluegrass group that just happens to do all gospel. We are not your typical sounding gospel band. We bring a different feel to the music in the way that we play it. We absolutely have a blast playing it and we have fun with the type of energy we bring to the genre. We definitely don’t think that we are anything special, but we do enjoy every opportunity that we get to play.
We love the fact that with this band we can play hard driving tunes and on the other hand we can slow it down and touch hearts of all those that listen. Most importantly, we are all born again believers and we thank God everyday for the opportunities that has been placed in front of us. Hopefully we can choose the right path and get the music out to more people.
We all absolutely love the music. All of us are such fans of music, especially bluegrass. We catch ourselves all the time just bragging about music and how much fun it is to play it. Each of us individually have such a desire to play and/or sing. It is unreal how much fun it is to do what we do. There are hard things about it but it is all well worth it. One of the main reasons we all do this is for the advancement of the message, a positive message. We may not sound like your average traditional bluegrass gospel group and you might have to listen a little harder to our music to get the meaning. But, nonetheless, we still present that positive message and hopefully in a new and exciting way. We love it; it’s what we do and I could never imagine not having music in my life.”
The link with Mountain Roads Recordings came about with the help of a local DJ ‚Ä¶‚Ä¶..
“One night in Bristol, Tennessee, we were at a jam session at a Chevron gas station and we done a song or two of ours. A man by the name of Larry Gorley [a DJ working at Radio Station WOPI, Bristol, Tennessee] was there and he liked what he heard. It’s always good to know someone that believes in you and your music. Larry was at a festival one night and run into Karl Cooler (President of Mountain Roads Recordings) and they got to talking. We were mentioned and Larry gave him one of our latest CD projects. Karl and his wife Gail listened to it and from what they tell us, really loved what they heard. Karl gave me a call and we set up a meeting.”
Wheeler is in the studio, recording, at the moment and is expecting the first release with Mountain Roads Recordings to be in late February or early March.
Audio samples are available at their MySpace page.