A chance meeting while on the road led Steel Wheels to steer their musical buggy in a new direction. Steel Wheels, which formed a decade ago in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, was on tour as opening act for singer/songwriter Josh Ritter when the band’s members befriended Sam Kassirer, who has both played keyboards with Ritter and produced albums for him. With a new recording project approaching, the band says on its website, they had been discussing producers and recording sites and “they chose to follow their instincts all the way to rural Maine, where Kassirer owns a recording studio inside a renovated farmhouse from the 18th century.” The four Wheels — Trent Wagler (guitar), Eric Brubaker (fiddle), Brian Dickel (upright bass), and Jay Lapp (mandolin) — hunkered down for a week and a half to create the album “Wild As We Came Here,” which was released in 2017. The album marked a shift in the band’s sound, which had been heavily acoustic and oriented toward Americana, bluegrass,, folk and old-time music. The website describes the shift: “By incorporating percussion and keyboards into the sessions for the first time, ‘Wild As We Came Here’ adds new textures to their catalog, as themes of discovery and perseverance run throughout the collection.” For newcomers to their music, “Scrape Me Off the Ceiling,” a harmony-rich relationship lament in which drums ground the lively string playing, serves as a good introduction to the band’s sound.
— Joseph Stalvey
7 p.m. Monday and Tuesday. $28. Caffe Lena, 47 Phila St., Saratoga Springs. 583-0022. caffelena.org.
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