“Not having vocals doesn’t concern us or worry us, really. People are going to get it,” says pedal steel player Spencer Cullum Jr. of Steelism, the all-instrumental band he shares with guitarist Jeremy Fetzer. “We connect with the audience even if there isn’t a singer.” Classic 1960s instrumental artists such as The Ventures, Pete Drake and Booker T. & The MG’s, along with soundtracks by Ennio Morricone and John Barry serve as Steelism’s primary inspirations. For these in-demand session musicians, writing instrumental music began as a change of pace. “It was a way to pass the time, but as soon as we tracked the first song, it got the ball rolling. It turned into an instrumental monster,” Cullum, a London transplant, says with a laugh. No theme is off limits for the duo—funky soul, aggressive surf, Latin escapades, psychedelic-rock explorations and string-filled cinematic send-ups inhabit 615 To Fame, Steelism’s debut. “I can’t see it hitting No. 1, but I think the album will be great for music fans,” Cullum says. “We switch off genres, but it’s all about melody. [Instrumental music] has to be driven by the melody” to work. It certainly works—better than many might expect.