This page contains various notes, commentaries, quotes, about Cheryl that you might want to use as part of your promotional campaign. Feel free to use any of the material you find on this page, however you are asked to credit this site and/or any individual identified as the source of the material.
It has always seemed as if there were two Cheryl Wheelers, with fans of the New England songwriter relishing watching the two tussle for control of the mic. There is poet-Cheryl, writer of some of the prettiest, most alluring and intelligent ballads on the modern folk scene. And there is her evil twin, comic-Cheryl, a militant trend defier and savagely funny social critic. The result is a delightful contrast between poet and comic.
Poet-Cheryl writes achingly honest songs of love and loss. Contrasting the prosaic landscapes of her native small-town America with the hopelessly rootless life of the traveling performer, she touches the common chords with any who feel the tug between our busy, noisome times and the timeless longing for simplicity and silence. Her deceptively plain-spun songs have been hits for such mainstream stars as Suzy Bogguss (Aces) and Dan Seals (Addicted), and have been recorded by everyone from Bette Midler, Maura O’Connell, Peter Paul and Mary, Juice Newton, and Garth Brooks. Comic-Cheryl comes on like Groucho-in-a-housecoat; a fiercely everyday woman with a barbed-wire tongue. Shredding the mores of our gossipy, greedy, trend-obsessed culture, Wheeler always aims enough darts at herself to never seem sanctimonious.
Wheeler was born in the small town of Timonium, Maryland. The wistful rural vistas she glimpses so poignantly through her fleeting windshield really do represent the deep pull of place she feels in her wandering life. With the possible exception of Greg Brown, no modern songwriter comes to mind who can write as convincingly about the sheer, simple-hearted joy of a nice day; whether a warm spring one spent driving down southern back roads, or a chilly gray one spent thinking properly dark thoughts at a bayside hotel. Where others seek the startling image, the "Big Event," Wheeler wraps her songs around the familiar image, the shared event. When it is comic-Cheryl’s turn, the poet simply turns over the mic and allows the comic to be displayed in her native habitat: the stage.
As the two forces smooth their conflict, taking their separate turns and melding into the same artistic vision, Wheeler emerges as a gifted and openhearted songwriter approaching the sure summit of her craft. Her abiding faith in her audience’s ability to find their own life reflected in the sweet spaces of her songs reveals an artist comfortably wearing the austere genius that defines folk music’s best traditions. More confidently and beautifully than ever before, she proves that the poet and the comic are one and the same.
by Scott Alarik
Seeing is Believing
Cheryl Wheeler has to be seen to be appreciated. Nothing you read and nothing you hear from her album prepares you for how good a performer she is.
From her albums you can tell that she is a gifted songwriter with a beautiful voice. From other people's comments about her you can learn that she is a natural story teller with a fantastic sense of humor. But until you see her in person, you never really believe what you've been told about her. Besides, almost half of the songs she does during her shows haven't been recorded!
If you have never seen her do a live concert, then by all means do so! I get e-mail from people all the time thanking me for spreading the word about Cheryl. They go to the concert knowing they will enjoy it, and often find it even better than they had thought it would be. If she doesn't ever perform near you, then buy her video and see what you are missing. Then make arrangements to be where she is performing soon.
Cheryl's first concert was to a captive audience. She found an old toy ukelele in a neighbor's attic and serenaded her mother who was taking a bath at the time. A year later she got a real ukelele, then finally got her first guitar. She learned guitar from a neighbor, who also taught a group of boys. Each week they would get together and play just about any song they could think of for hours on end. Her first public performance was at a Hootenany type show when she was 12. She started writing songs when she was 17.
She has never had a "Day Job". Her first professional gigs were at the Steak and Ale Restaurant in her home town of Timonium, Maryland. The place only had one PA system; in the middle of her songs you would hear: "Jones, party of four ... Jones, party of four". She finally convinced them to get a second PA system.
She performed at venues around Baltimore and Washington DC before moving to New England in 1976, where she now lives. She had a band for a while, but usually performs solo now, or with Kenny White, who often opens and then accompanies her and sings backup. She often appears in the On a Winter's Night tour.
by Bill Pringle