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Decatur, Alabama, United States | SELF

Decatur, Alabama, United States | SELF
Band Rock Folk


This band hasn't logged any future gigs

This band hasn't logged any past gigs



"Wheelers Support Tennessee Riverkeeper"

November 8th, 2011

By: David Whiteside
One of the latest chapters of the legendary musical history of the Tennessee River Valley is the band, Wheelers. Wheelers were founded in 2009 on the banks of the Wheeler Reservoir in Decatur, Alabama. Wheelers is a musical family that embodies a “do-it-yourself” attitude and the free spirit of grassroots music. Writing, recording, and producing all of their own music in a basement (endearingly referred to as “The Boss Mont”) near the Tennessee River in Decatur, AL, they have come to represent a truly homegrown sound that is greater than the sum of its individual parts. Indispensable and peerless in each his own way, the individual parts in question are Tyler Smith, John Warren, Tyler Jones, Jordan Landers, and Andrew Bonds.
Wheelers are dedicated volunteers and have performed three fundraisers for Tennessee Riverkeeper, raising over $3,000 for the non-profit organization. Tyler Smith, founder of Wheelers and one of Riverkeeper’s most active volunteers, also designs fundraiser concert posters featuring native wildlife commonly seen on our River.
Recently, Wheelers performed their first ever acoustic set at a Riverkeeper fundraiser by the Tennessee River. A silent auction with items from: Train, Drive-By Truckers, Wheelers, comedian Robert Klein, Zildjian Drumsticks, Alabama Farmer’s Cooperative, Sugar Magnolia’s, Excalibur Vinyl and Vintage, Carolyn Bild photography, Black Warrior Riverkeeper, and more.
Both Band Of Horses and The Black Keys recorded recent albums on the Tennessee River in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. From Lynryd Skynryd and their “Muscle Shoals Swampers” to Drive-By Truckersto Alabama Shakes and Wheelers, the Tennessee River Valley continues to create and inspire artists.
Tyler Smith’s three most recent fundraiser posters are shown below. In chronological order by event date, the artwork depicts a bald cypress tree (Taxodium distichum) a blue catfish (Ictalurus furcatus) and a great blue heron (Ardea herodias). A 111 pound catfish (50.35 kg) was caught in the Wheeler Reservoir of the Tennessee River on July 5, 1996, it remains the Alabama state record for largest catfish. - SwimDrinkFishMusic.com

""Plugged-In" with Wheelers"

The Decatur band Wheelers hesitantly defines its sound as eclectic rock, qualifying the answer with a “maybe” and a question mark.

The group’s wailing guitar riffs, diverse vocals and rollicking beats span a variety of genres, from funk to progressive jazz to jam rock. The 20-somethings are influenced by artists like Robert Johnson, the Allman Brothers, the Grateful Dead, Led Zepplin, Bob Dylan and Phish.

And though they may not definitively fit into a certain genre, the band members are clear about their focus right now: playing original music and having fun while doing it.

“We just like to have fun and hope that people enjoy what we are doing. If we are having a good time, the people listening should be having a good time as well,” said Tyler Jones, 27, guitarist, vocalist and bassist. “We just really enjoy playing music.”

On Saturday, the band will perform at The Brick Deli & Tavern on Moulton Street to help raise money for the Tennessee Riverkeeper, an organization that protects the river and its tributaries by enforcing environmental laws and educating the public.

“We have always been a fan of (co-founder) Dave Whiteside and the Tennessee Riverkeeper. Dave really loves his job and is passionate about the river that many people take for granted,” Jones said. “We just want to help people to jump on board with him.”

The benefit concert also features Decatur singer-songwriter Kim Stone. Proceeds from the $5 cover charge will go to the organization. See www.tennesseeriver.org for more details.

Band members also include:

Jordan Lamont Landers, 20, lead guitar/bass/vocals

Andrew Bonds, 25, drums/percussion

Tyler Smith, 26, lead guitar/bass/lap steel/banjo/vocals

John Warren, 27, acoustic guitar/vocals

How did the band get its start?

John Warren and Tyler Smith had previously been playing music with a few other guys from the area. Tyler Jones left Atlanta and moved back to Decatur. After the three of us got together, our good friend Daniel Meek mentioned that Andrew Bonds was an aspiring drummer. Jordan Landers was introduced to the rest of the band through Tyler Smith’s brother, Christian. Finally, we all just got together and liked the way everything meshed together. Somewhere along the way, someone mentioned we should start a band.

How did you come up with the name?

Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge? Joe Wheeler? Wheeler Lake? We really didn’t put much thought into it. We all just spent most of our time playing and writing music and figured we’d come up with a name sooner or later.

When did you first feel the chemistry of the band?

The very first time we all played together. Actually, we are still looking for a real bass player, if anyone is interested.

How did the band evolve?

We all listen to different music, and all four guitar players play a different style. Bonds really just plays his drums the way he wants, then the rest of us just fill in the dead space.

What have been the highlights of the band’s career so far?

Smiths Olde Bar in Atlanta. We were able to play on a stage that so many great musicians had been on. Its always a fun night when we get to play there. We also played in a barn somewhere near Safford. Breakers went out, amps blew up, and on a 1,800-acre farm, I think four of us got lost. I’m pretty sure we saw a moose at one point.

What have been the biggest challenges?

Getting booked locally. Chad Henderson has let us play at The Brick a few times. It’s always a plus when you meet good people like Chad. Sometimes it’s very hard to get people to listen to original music.

How often (and where) does the band perform?

We play as often as we can in Decatur, Madison, Huntsville, Tuscaloosa, Birmingham, Montgomery, Atlanta and North Georgia. Every weekend for the last month or so has been booked.

(During the week, the band members work around town: Warren at UPS, Smith at Jimmy Smith Jewelers, Bonds at Hibbett Sports and Jones at Jones Insurance, while Landers is a student.)

Do you perform covers or original music?

Ninety percent of what we do is original music. We actually find it tough to cover music. Everyone wants it to sound like the original performer. Writing original music allows all of us to find what we want it to sound like; therefore, we don’t have to put our “spin” on a song.

What inspires your lyrics?

Life, love, friendship, road trips, random occurrences — all the cliche things that inspire everyone. Sometimes, luck.

What are your most requested songs or which ones do you play the most?

“International Anthem,” “Burnt,” “1904,” “This Is a Prayer,” “Bridges Path,” “Montana.” These seem to be our songs that people request. It works out for us, because we love playing all of them.

What is your goal?

As long as people seem to enjoy what we do, we will probably keep doing this. It’s hard to make it big in the music industry. Sometimes, it’s just better to have a good time playing in front of people, and hope that the right person may be sitting in the crowd.

Where do you hope your music goes?

We would be lying if we didn’t admit that being rich and famous was in the back of our mind. However, the music will always speak for itself. Until you can Hoodstream or webcast our shows on the Internet, we will still be having a good time playing for good people.

What’s next for the band?

We’ve got a couple of shows coming up (including Riverfest in Decatur on Sept. 17). Right now we are focusing on writing some new material. Check us out on Facebook or at www.wheelers.bandcamp.com.
Wheelers’ top 5 recent iPod favorites

John Warren and Tyler Jones have been on a Cornmeal binge lately. Tyler Smith: My Morning Jacket. Andrew Bonds: Foo Fighters. Jordan Lamont Landers: Eric Clapton.

Plugged In is a Q&A series featuring local singer-songwriters and bands as part of the Year of Alabama Music. Nominate your favorite musicians by emailing living@decaturdaily.com. See www.yearofalabamamusic.com. - The Decatur Daily


The Boss Mont
-"Nervous Breakdown" played on 106.1 WTAK (Huntsville, AL)
-"Burnt" Played on 90.1 WVUA (Tuscaloosa, AL)

Steamroller EP
-"Another Day" played on 106.1 WTAK (Huntsville, AL)



A fortuitous meeting between Tyler Smith and John Warren late one Summer night in 2009 brought forth the Decatur band known as "Wheelers." As the two of them compared notes into the early morning hours, it became clear to them that they could unlock the full potential of their songs together. Over the course of the next six months, they entertained a revolving door of musicians while writing and re-writing their original songs. At the end of the tumultuous period of the band's formation, over a year later, their lineup was final with the addition of Andrew Bonds, Tyler Jones and Jordan Landers. They had also self-produced their first album, "The Boss Mont," named for an endearing moniker the band used when referring to their practice space in a downtown Decatur basement.

In January 2012, Wheelers had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work with producer John Keane, in Athens, GA, whose notoriety is as impressive as it is extensive.

Wheelers' second studio effort, the four song "Steamroller EP," features more of the band's original music with a guest appearance by Mr. Keane himself.

Both "The Boss Mont," and "Steamroller EP" are available for download at www.wheelersband.com.