The Drunken Hearts are an Americana-rock band from Colorado led by vocalist/guitarist Andrew McConathy. "Wheels Of The City," the title track of their third full-length release, was inspired by the 1960 essay "The Vanishing American Hobo" by Beat generation poet/novelist Jack Kerouac. McConathy explains: "'Wheels of the City' examines the cultural paradigm between the homeless, health insurance-less 99% of America and the remaining 1% who seemingly wish to leave their brothers and sisters helpless, and/or build a wall to keep freedom and opportunity at bay against an overbearing patriarchy who wishes to repress them. 'Build a bridge, and not a wall.'"
McConathy sings from the perspective of a homeless man sleeping in a doorway who dreams of a future where people like him aren't cast aside in their "dull and nameless rags," but are a part of a community that cares for them. "Let’s build a bridge and not a wall, Something to bind us, not divide us all," he sings.
The lyrics reference boxer Joe Louis ("Other hand hanging strong, strong like Joe Louis"), who was the heavyweight champion of the world from 1937 to 1949.