Cheryl Wheeler returns to the me and thee!
Cheryl’s concerts are more like what you would find at a comedy club than expect to find at a folk music concert. She will tell a story that has you rolling in the aisles, and then sing a song that leaves you wiping tears from your eyes. She will talk about some serious current event, and then sing a song that will have you howling with laughter. Her entire concert is an emotional roller coaster.
Her set list is usually a crumpled piece of paper with a bunch of song titles. After each song, she’ll look at the list and decide what to do next. If somebody calls out a request, and her guitar is in the right key, she might try it, even if she hasn’t done it in a while. If she just finished writing a song, she will usually try it out in front of the next audience. If she has two sets back to back, she almost never does the same (or even similar) group of songs.
Her funny stories between songs show as much diversity. Each time she tells a story, it will be a little bit different, so even if you’ve heard it before, you still find yourself laughing.
To repeat, there is no way you can read about Cheryl and get a good picture of what she or her concerts are like. You have to see one. If she is performing in your area, do whatever it takes to get to her concert. You won’t be sorry.
Cheryl’s first concert was to a captive audience. She found an old toy ukulele in a neighbor’s attic and serenaded her mother who was taking a bath at the time. A year later she got a real ukulele, 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. That was a joke :^)
Cheryl did have a “job”, teaching music. In her words:
She performed at venues around Baltimore and Washington DC before moving to New England in 1976, where she now lives. She tours extensively. 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 appeared in the On a Winter’s Night tour, and was part of the Philo 25th Anniversary tour.