The Wheel Workers Release New Album, Celebrate with Friday Concert at White Oak

The Wheel Workers Release New Album, Celebrate with Friday Concert at White Oak

The Wheel Workers (photo by Daniel Jackson)

TOMORROW, AUG. 26, HOUSTON indie-rockers The Wheel Workers perform at White Oak Music Hall to finally celebrate the release of their much anticipated, four-years-in-the-making album Harbor, which is already enjoying airplay and regular rotation on college and commercial radio stations.

Steven Higginbotham, the band’s founder, lead singer and primary songwriter, admits to feeling simultaneously relieved, excited and exhausted as he and his bandmates — drummer Kevin Radomski, keyboardist Erin Rodgers, guitarist Craig Wilkins and bassist Zeek Garcia — prepare to play Harbor’s complex, tuneful and at times explosive songs for the first time in front of a live audience.

“So much goes into finishing a record,” says Higginbotham, recalling the endless hours spent in the studio tracking, arranging and then re-arranging his songs. “I tend to be someone that leaves no stone unturned to a rather obsessive degree. But I think that process has resulted in our best record yet.”

While longtime fans will immediately pogo and headbang to rockers like “Suck It Up” and “Morning Song,” Harbor is filled with unexpected ear candy. On the mid-tempo ballad “Cold,” Higginbotham sings the song’s plaintive lyrics completely in falsetto, using autotune to create metallic, mournful tone, like the voice of machine left behind by its makers, now wondering how much juice is left in its battery. “For a while, I wondered, ‘Is this even a Wheel Workers song?’” says Higginbotham, who co-wrote the track with Ed Gardiner. “But I like bands who sometimes do stuff that’s out of left field.”

Meanwhile, the texture of Higginbotham’s stuttering and distorted tremolo vocals on the title track are strangely suited for the lyrics of the song (“You think you don’t belong / You’re too hard on yourself”), which mirror the gentle, intimate album artwork created by T Lavois Thiebaud. Higginbotham is quick to give credit to the album’s mix engineer and co-producer Dan Workman for suggesting such surprising sonic detours.

If there’s an overriding theme to Harbor, in its straightforward lyrics, multilayered music and meticulous production, it is one of resilience. It’s a quality Houston and its music community has in spades, and will be on full display, onstage and throughout the audience, this Friday at White Oak.

The Wheel Workers' new 'Harbor' album

Art + Entertainment
‘Natural Passion’ Makes Fourth-Gen Houstonian Sarah Callaway Sulma a Realty Star

AS A FOURTH-generation Houstonian, Sarah Callaway Sulma has a unique and invaluable view of the city. Her deep seated connection to Houston led her down the path to becoming one the city's most well-respected, and renowned real estate agents. Sarah's natural passion for the real estate industry from a young age led her to where she is today. "I know that it sounds cheesy, but it is the truth! I wanted to be in real estate from a young age," Sarah shares. "The late-great restaurateur, Tony Vallone, put me together with real estate legend, Martha Turner, and Martha put me together with Cathy Cagle. The rest is history-13 years of success and counting!" Now with over 13 years in real estate and $55M+ in residential real estate sales, Sarah brings a rare combination of knowledge, skill, and advocacy to each one of her clients.

Keep ReadingShow less

Lance McCullers, Jose Altuve and Kyle Tucker

AN ANNUAL EVENT to raise funds for some of the top Astros players’ favorite causes knocked it out of the park this year, bringing in a record haul of $600,000.

Keep ReadingShow less
People + Places

Hugo Ortega (photo by Gittings Photography)

WHAT STARTED AS a casual watering hole with simple soups, salads and sandwiches — and a popcorn machine in the bar — is now a top restaurant owned by one of the city’s most respected restaurateurs and a James Beard Award-winning chef.

Keep ReadingShow less