UNITE with The Wheel Workers and give your ears some candy
This is a long overdue review, so to Steven Higginbotham and his brilliant band of friends I apologize for my tardiness on these kind words. Last year Stephen and his band The Wheel Workers dropped their collection of songs for all to enjoy. I was given a copy to listen to and review and I now listen to it on a regular basis, it has become one of my favorite CDs to put in the player. I even find myself singing the songs when I’m not even listening to CD. So now I will finally let everyone in the land of Red Pub know a little bit about The Wheel Workers 2011 release UNITE
I love the way the album begins by drawing you in with Vibrato and unified hand claps. The vocals come in like a kind and welcoming friend that is inviting you to sit for an afternoon chat. The woodwinds, piano and brass create a well rounded solidness on the first track that is maintained throughout the entire CD. UNITY is rich with texture, and if that’s something you are into, then it is a must for your collection of ear candy.
The songs all flow in a way that make Unity easy to listen to all the way through, I don’t dislike any of the songs or lose interest as I listen, there is always something new and interesting coming in for your ears to dance with.
Steven has a variety of tricks and ponies that to me are like a constant déjà vu of music I grew up with. The sound is somewhere between Athens and New Orleans, and reminds me of my favorite college radio station up in Maine. As I listen to UNITE It’s like a Dream of The Blue Turtle, or having coffee with Roger Waters, jamming with Sean Lennon, and drifting off to my old de’Shmog tapes.
Intelligent lyrics, melodic acumen, and magnetic harmony are all on the ingredient list. No additives, fillers, or artificial colors. It is pure local Honey.
I am a huge fan of Steven’s vocal arrangements which are quite bewitching. I especially like the backing vocals on a track called SIDEWALKS which also has a great weaving of strings and electronica that shadows the chorus of luscious and piquant singers. His vocal arrangements have more fabric than an over worked textile mill and they churn throughout every track on UNITE.
The thing I like most about Higgenbotham’s songs is the great lyrics. Steven has a superlative way of wielding the magic of words. He is very forthright and sentimental with his choices of subject matter and delivery. I can tell by his words that he has thought long and hard about this world and its interminable waltz between torture and bliss.
He dwells on the Earthly blood sweat and tears that the working man bears in THE MOP when he sings “numb divorced from any sense of humanity, working minimum wage, no connection to anything I make” then he lets us know that he is also a dreamer on the track SPIDERMAZES by saying “Just like the ground seeks the sound of rain, heads need some time in the clouds to be sane.”Although Steven has messages to get across to the listener, he is never heavy handed which is a fine line that is hard for a lot of song writers to find.
UNITE is so full of everything I love about music.
Since releasing UNITE, The Wheel Workers have been picked up by ZENHILL RECORDS. (If you have never heard of ZENHILL look them up, it is only the best thing to happen to Houston’s music scene in ages. All of ZENHILL’S artists are amazing, but that’s another story.) I look forward to seeing and hearing what’s yet to come from Steven and his crew considering the doors that will open for them now that they have signed with ZENHILL.
They will be releasing a 7” vinyl single Friday, June 29th at Fitzgerald’s and playing on stage 2 at the Free Press Summerfest June 2nd at Noon (same stage as the Flaming Lips). How exiting! I recommend trying to make it out to one of these shows and experiencing firsthand the marvelous sound of THE WHEEL WORKERS. Below I have also added some links for YouTube, Facebook, and their website to help you learn more about Steven Higgenbotham and his crew. Check it out; you will be doing yourself a favor.