Wheeler Brothers
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Wheeler Brothers

Austin, Texas, United States | INDIE

Austin, Texas, United States | INDIE
Band Rock Folk




"Wheeler Brothers – Portraits (Bismeaux)"

Just seconds into lead track “Long, Hard Road” on their debut Portrait, Austin, TX-based Wheeler Brothers cast a striking similarity to another Americana-rich “brothers” band (yes, it’s the Avetts). Quirky lyrical sensibility, folksy banjo/acoustic twang, solid vocal harmonies—comparisons are unavoidable. What distinguishes the Wheelers, though, is a healthy dose of tavern-bred rock credibility with an irrepressible, 21st century alt-country edge. Think Kings of Leon-meets-Old 97’s and you’ll be halfway there.

Through 11 fiery roots-inflected cuts, the Brothers bare their songwriting chops with an addictive sense of bravado and cerebral storytelling, like the story of a wayfaring girl struggling to find herself in “Mississippi.” The melancholy “Home For The Holidays” features an almost emo vibe, spiked with trumpet, Texas tremolo guitar and dynamic gang-vocal chorus.

Elsewhere, there are traces of the Strokes in the gently swaying rocker “Focus,” while “Spent Time” sounds like something Johnny Cash may have written had he grown up a card-carrying member of the alternative nation. The band’s wit and musical fearlessness offer a fresh take on SXSW-traveled fare.

Seemingly a bottomless pit of musical vision, Portrait is a debut that shows this band’s melodic wellspring already bubbling over.

Mark Uricheck
- Elmore Magazine

"Lee's Listening Stack - The Wheeler Brothers - 'Portraits'"

The Wheeler Brothers

It’s rare to find an introductory album that creates such an immediate impression. After all, most rookie outfits take at least two or three outings before they fully come into their own. Yet the Wheeler Brothers’ confidence is clearly a given, and Portraits provides proof that they’re ready to ascend into the big leagues on only a moment’s notice. Their songs undergo deft transitions in texture and tone, from a quiet lilt to an assertive stomp, but the changes in dynamic only add to the intrigue. Like other brother acts, Nolan, Tyler and Patrick Wheeler have an intrinsic bond that’s obviously instinctive, and with their knack for crafting exuberant melodies, this Austin-based outfit proves they can rock relentlessly without negating any subtler nuances.

The brothers’ craft is evident straight away on the opening entry, “Long, Hard Road,” a tangled, triumphant set up that boasts a whooping whistle to herald this effusive introduction. The rest of the set follows suit, and songs such as “Mississippi,” “Jersey” and “Call Me to the Morning” boast a sound that’s easy on the ears, the didactic rhythms and wailing refrains notwithstanding. It all contributes to some instant appeal, and fortunately the Wheelers’ penchant for twists and turns doesn’t dislodge that essential accessibility. However, they also defy categorization and any presumption of folk, rock or Americana quickly becomes somewhat irrelevant. Portraits offers a singular sound and it’s all the more impressive for it. – Lee Zimmerman

Lee Zimmerman is a contributor to a variety of publications, including Blurt, M Music & Musicians, New Times, Goldmine and Amplifier

This review appears courtesy of Amplifier, 50,000 Watts of Non-Stop Indie Rock?http://amplifiermagazine.blogspot.com/ - No Depression

"Music Review: Wheeler Brothers - Portraits"

Austin, Texas is well known to natives as a hotbed of creative new music and through the city's enthusiastic support of the yearly South by Southwest event, which continues to nurture enormously talented young musicians.
The Wheeler Brothers are a great example of this creative energy. Set for release on June 21, the Wheeler Brothers’ new CD, Portraits, has already debuted at sold-out pre-release parties around the state.
After giving it a once-through quick listen, I was immediately struck by the unique and quirky compositions. The Wheeler Brothers have it going on! Far from the expected "one song wonder," the entire album is filled with very catchy, listenable tunes and instrument mastery to be expected from much more seasoned musicians. Nolan, Tyler and Patrick are the real life brothers, while the smooth vocals of Danny Matthews and the guru-like talent of the steel guitarist, A.J. Molyneaux, round out the indie-rock band.
The second track, "Mississippi," is often a crowd favorite, with good reason: killer lyrics and kickin' backbeat with a nice little storyline.
But, my personal favorite might just be the funky "Just Another City." It reminds me of a young Leon Russell a little, tossed in with a flavor of Randy Newman. Great, catchy keyboard riffs, too.
Then again, like a good Django Reinhardt song soaked in a little tequila and lime, "Ghost in the Valley" has gotten the most playtime on my laptop in the evenings.
Truly, it was hard to narrow down a single song favorite; Portraits doesn't have a bad tune in the bunch. If you've never added an Austin band to your library, you can't go wrong with this premier CD by the Wheeler Brothers.
'Course, you don't have to just trust my instincts; someone much more astute, Mr. Ray Benson, frontman for Asleep at the Wheel and nine-time Grammy winner, was so impressed by their unique sound and talent that he signed the Wheeler Brothers to his own Bismeaux Records. (They are keeping good company, as the Texas Tornados, Willie Nelson, Jason Roberts, and Leon Rausch are among the label's famous artists.)
You can catch the Wheeler Brothers live in Dallas at the Across the Street Bar on Friday, June 24. I haven't had the opportunity to listen to them live, but I've been told they are awesome in person with a fun, infectious stage presence. Catch them soon so you can say, "I saw them when..."!

Read more: http://blogcritics.org/music/article/music-review-wheeler-brothers-portraits/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+bc%2Farticles+%28Blogcritics+Articles%29#ixzz1aUmUtPFJ - blogcritics.org


Portraits - LP- 2011



“Long, Hard Road,” the first song on the Wheeler Brothers’ first album and a title that gives you a pretty good indication of where this Austin, Texas five-piece feels most comfortable. Indeed, although they’re five-time Austin Music Awards winners who’ve never played a hometown gig that hasn’t sold out, the Wheelers view the world as one big stage.
“We’ve always respected the bands that just get out there and work their asses off,” says singer-guitarist Nolan Wheeler, who adds that the band’s goal this year is to play 200 shows by Christmas. “There’s really no better way to create a connection with your audience.”
Nor is there any better way to refine your music—to find yourself in it and discover what makes it yours. That’s precisely what the Wheeler Brothers—who also include bassist Tyler Wheeler and drummer Patrick Wheeler, along with guitarist Danny Matthews and lap-steel whiz A.J. Molyneaux—have done over the past two years, honing a unique roots- music sound PasteMagazine.com has described as bringing “a bit of the enthusiasm and flavor of The Arcade Fire into their Texas-tinged Americana” and Carson Daly has called “!music at its finest. Rock & roll with a bit of twang!”
They’ll be the first to tell you: Portraits, the group’s remarkable debut, arrives steeped in tradition, with a sound as rich as Southern soil with echoes of Willie Nelson and Townes Van Zandt, not to mention more recent trailblazers such as Wilco and Radiohead. (And let’s not forget Western swing institution Asleep at the Wheel, whose frontman Ray Benson released Portraits on his Bismeaux Records.)
But in these rough-and-tumble songs of home and heartbreak, fortune and family, the Wheelers tell their own stories, as well, drawn from their experiences as young men with old souls. In “Call Me in the Morning,” a propulsive rocker with fuzzy guitars, they channel the exuberant innocence
of one’s salad days, while the quieter title track paints a heavy scene inside a hospital room; elsewhere, they envision life from different perspectives, as in the horn-enriched “Spent Time,” which ponders the way a just-released prisoner might greet the sky.
The Wheeler Brothers’ yarn-spinning dates back to their high-school days, when they first began jamming at the Wheelers’ place. “We’d just be in there, drinking beers, having fun,” A.J. remembers. Upon graduation, the lap-steel player enrolled at the University of Texas, while the band’s other four members went off to Louisiana State University; they played together during their time there, but things didn’t lock into place until their return to Austin, at which point A.J. rejoined the group and the quintet began playing around town.
“The support we’ve gotten from the community here has just been incredible,” Tyler says, and it’s that solid base—coupled with their extensive social-media presence—that’s allowed the Wheeler Brothers to venture out, wowing audiences around the United States between recording sessions for their upcoming sophomore disc.
“For us it’s just about writing great music, playing killer shows and staying in touch with our fans,” Nolan says. (To that end, the Wheelers travel with a special cell phone anyone’s welcome to call for a chat. Seriously, give it a whirl: 512-983-5934.) Of the new album, they can’t say much yet, except that it’s sure to reveal an evolution of one kind or another.
“I think we’re constantly in a place where we’re developing our sound,” Danny says, calling to mind again that long, hard road. “We’ll always be striving to make it more our own.”