Here is the video premiere of ‘Shoulder to the Wheel’, a folk-anthem from iconic troubadour Deidre McCalla, who has been putting out music for almost five decades. As a black woman, lesbian, feminist and mother, McCalla offers an important perspective on the world through her heartfelt, inspiring songs. Her fifth independent album, ‘Endless Grace’, has just been released – McCalla’s first new music in nineteen years. The collection is full of stirring songs that celebrate resilience and the power of the human spirit alongside relatable songs about the human experience: love, family, parenthood and loss. Across the album, there are a range of styles and genres, from folk to rock, country to gospel-tinged R&B. McCalla’s warm, emotive voice holds it all together.
This song is the follow-up single to the powerful ‘I Do Not Walk This Path Alone’, which gave thanks to all those who came before us, on whose shoulders we stand and without whom we could not achieve what we have. ‘Shoulder to the Wheel’ is a fine example of McCalla’s uplifting songs, offering encouragement and support to her listeners. It’s written as a tribute to all those workers and parents who make the world turn through their ongoing effort, commitment, dedication and energy. Her language is straightforward and direct: “Since time has begun // The work of the world has been done // By those who rise to the task // Without fanfare or ego // With steadfast intention go // Shoulder to the wheel…Stone by stone” It urges everyone to keep going, keep striving even when times are hard and life feels like an uphill struggle. Musically, McCalla delivers a melodic, characterful vocal over tuneful acoustic guitar and delightful, fluid fiddle.
McCalla notes: “The pandemic taught us that Essential Workers are not just doctors, firefighters, and police officers but also those who do the tasks that enable our day-to-day survival. ‘Shoulder To The Wheel’ is a salute to all who have the vision and fortitude to get up everyday and persistently do the work that needs to be done.”
Over in the US, ‘Endless Grace’ and ‘Shoulder to the Wheel’ were the most played album and song on folk radio in June according to the charts compiled by Folk Alliance International. That’s some achievement after performing for fifty years. Deidre McCalla offers positivity and hopefulness, encapsulated in well-crafted contemporary folk songs that mean something in an often-troubled world. If you want to be lifted, look no further.