Wheeland Brothers: Soul Surfers Lost in the Key of Sea

Wheeland Brothers, surf music, surfing lifestyle

The Wheeland Brothers are a band featuring two brothers that grew up in Southern California living the surfing life and are a group you must listen to and experience live if you are a surfer or just love great music!

I first discovered the Wheeland Brothers while listening to Surf Roots radio and heard their “Sand in my Sheets” song.  I was instantly hooked by its catchy melody and lyrics that any surfer can relate to – it will be a true classic of theirs for a lifetime!

That song was on their first starter album “Toast to the Coast” and it is full of fun songs  inspired by their lifestyle of surfing, living by the ocean, and just “Take it Easy” and not getting caught up with all the judgement and expectations that society can often press upon us.

After listening to their CD, I couldn’t wait to see them perform live and the first show of theirs that I went to was at UCSD.  I had a few fave songs at that point and bought their CD and some promotional merchandise as I was so excited to discover a new band that I could really relate to and completely dug their sound!

What I really love about this group is how they truly LIVE what they SING and are authentic in every aspect of their music!

Their second album I enjoyed even more, called “Muchos Mahalos”.  The title of that album was inspired by their  love of Hawaii (which they made a journey to that inspired them to take on their music full time) and Mexico (especially with their burrito obsession – ha).

That album starts off with some fun upbeat jams and then transitions to The Hideaway song (my favorite on that album) – about their secret uncrowded surf spot that they go to in order to unplug and get away from it all.  I also went to a fun jam session at The Hideaway where they played that song acoustic style around the campfire at night under the stars (well before they got kicked out by the rangers – that’s a whole other story and song– ha).

I won’t be giving away the location of The Hideaway surf spot, but the surf spot is featured in da Surf Engine app.  You might be able to find some clues to locate the spot – let’s just say I walked a good trek of the coast in exploration to find it, but it was worth it!  The sense of discovery by exploration makes finding secret surf spots exciting!  They have other great songs on that album as well that are perfect for the summertime and post surf chill vibes!

However, The Wheeland Brothers latest album, launching Friday, 8/26/16, is their best yet.  Lost in the Key of Sea is definitely an album you can get lost in and listen to on repeat endlessly, cruising the highway on a surfing road trip and play nothing else (well, except Iration & Ballyhoo! – ha)! I got a sneak peek of the album by accident, so wanted to get a head start on having the first review of this album out there!

To sum this album up in one sentence, it’s a musical journey that takes you where you really want to be!

Below is my song by song take on this amazing album full of catchy melodies, upbeat rhythms, chill vibes, and inspiration for truly living life and maybe inspiring some to just take a chance on something away from the safe and predictable routine of life.

Summer Stars

They originally released this song as a single before this album dropped.  However they did a new version of this song for this album and I think it’s in a different key, perhaps, the key of sea, as the version on their new album has a bit more of an upbeat but still magical sound and great way to kick off the album and definitely gets stuck in your head!  It’s the perfect song to listen around the bonfire at night looking up at the sparkling sky.

Off the Map

This song gives a shout out to the Endless Summer, which is appropriate because The Wheeland Brothers are to surfing/music like Bruce Brown is to surfing/films – classics that will never get old!  I really can’t listen to this song, let alone album at work because if I do, I might just pack up my stuff take off on a surfari with lyrics like this –  “if you got work to do, I guess it’s just not fair….breaking off from all the silly routines, and we won’t stop until we hit the sea…it’s only Monday in your mind”

The song is so catchy too and you just get too distracted listening to this fun tune to get anything done if you try and hum along while you work!  It definitely speaks to wanting to get off the map and just explore and unplug from all the typical daily grind of life!


I heard this song for the first time a few months ago back in May at their show in Winston’s in OB.  When you are instantly hooked to a song the first time you hear it, let alone the first time you hear it live, you know it’s a hit!!  I predict this to be another one of their live fan favorites, like Sand in My Sheets!!  Not only is it such a fun and upbeat song, the lyrics are also descriptive and really allude to the mystique of Mexico and the wild west that still can exist!  Here are some key lyrics:

“If you wanna get back to living you gotta face your fears find what you’ve been missing…wanna go down to Mexico where the wild west still had some soul…something California used to know…I watched it leave with the rush of gold…”


This is another tune that just brings the rhythm and beat and has the perfect energy for their live shows and embraces the summer California vibes and sunshine!  Another song that is guaranteed to be on their regular set list for live performances with the happy vibe that it will give the crowds every time it’s played! This is a live take on it played live from the infamous, The Hideaway secret surf spot!

Safe Side

This is another song the Wheeland Brothers previously released as a single.  They have an incredible music video that goes along with it that captures the adrenaline and excitement of not living on the safe side with the crazy awe inspiring ledgey waves at The Wedge in Newport Beach.  Of all the songs on their Lost in the Key of Sea album, this is the one that is the most inspiring and pushes you to live your dreams and stop procrastinating.

“Hesitate and it’s too late, the more you wait, the more you waste” – this is a perfect example of how they can bridge surfing seamlessly with life.  If you hesitate on a wave, forget it you’re gonna either not get the wave or completely nose dive.  If you hesitate in life, you will miss out on opportunities – so go on that trip, even if you have to go by yourself, because if you wait for someone to go with you, you’ll never go anywhere or do anything.

Lovers Ledge

This is a chill laid back song that instantly gave me Jack Johnson vibes.  I guarantee others that listen to Jack’s music will agree.  Jack Johnson should really bring The Wheeland Brothers on tour with him – that tour needs to happen, but then the Wheeland Brothers will blow up big time and I’ll miss their smaller local shows, ha!!

Calm Yourself

When I saw this song’s title, I thought it would be a super chill laid back song, but it’s actually quite upbeat and spirited.  It has a bit of a tropical sound that is breezy, bouncy fun.

California Kids

This song is a nod to Kenny Chesney as it’s a remake/parody of his song American Kids.  They were inspired to write it after Kenny discovered their music and featured it on his No Shoes Radio station on Sirius XM radio.  It’s got a great lyrical rhythm and is a song guaranteed to get the crowds dancing at live shows! Their take on Kenny’s song is a perfect match to visualize life in Southern California for anyone who has never been here before and hears this song for the first time.  Here’s a short live clip of a take on this song awhile back.

Rising Tide

This is one of the mellower songs on the album and it’s got a soothing sound to calm yourself after a stressful day at work.  The lyrics are definitely a bit more symbolic in this song and I’m sure with more listens I’ll discover the hidden meaning in the lyrics. I’m doing this review after one or two listens of the album so I’m sure I’ll have more to add to it once I get to know the song a bit better – ha, one of the things about trying to be the first to post a review!

Rock Me Like The Ocean

This is another song they’ve previously played live before and is a great reggae type jam.  It’s another tune that gives an ode to the sea and has some great lyrics like “All we got is the time we’re given…Living is hard, but loving and living is free”.

Surfer Girl

This tune is an ode to all the surfer chicks out there!  However unlike the Beach Boys Surfer Girl (that’s a bit slow and sappy), it’s a peppy, spirited tune that has much more interesting and action filled lyrics, and adds a fun, melodic ukulele vibe.  It’s a quickie at under 2 minutes, but it definitely paints the picture of a surfer chick in action and ripping those waves, surfing like a girl!

Things We Grow

The album ender is an appropriate slower paced song to wind down to – the melody is calm and soothing and lyrics are very interesting and metaphorical and could mean many different things, depending on how anyone interprets it.  However, this song seems a bit autobiographical of the Wheeland Brothers because they have grown musically throughout the past few albums and this album will be the one that grows them and pushes them to the next level where they will be a household name like Jack Johnson.

Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in Surf Lifestyle, Surf Music

Related Articles


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *