Cheryl Wheeler

2015 INDUCTEE
Folk/Composer

CHERYL WHEELER

Cheryl Wheeler was born in Maryland in 1951. She began writing songs at an early age and got her start in the music business performing at folk clubs and coffeehouses on the Baltimore/Washington scene in the early 1970s.

In 1976, Cheryl  moved to Rhode Island to pursue a full time career in music on the Newport folk scene. Armed with an ever-growing catalog of original material and an arresting stage presence, she took that scene by storm and was quickly recognized as one of the finest songwriters and singers to surface in a decade or more. Over the next few years, she became an in-demand performer at acoustic venues throughout the Northeast and established artists began covering her songs.

Portrait of the artist as a young woman: Cheryl Wheeler in 1983 from the back cover of “Newport Songs”

Newport Songs (Newport Is Sports NS-118), 1983. This rare four-song 12” EP was Cheryl’s first release; it has never been reissued.

When the fledgling North Star Records, of Providence, began searching for an artist to launch their label, they zeroed in on Cheryl. In 1986, her self-titled first album, produced by Jonathan Edwards, brought her national attention and a cover version of one of its tracks, “Addicted,” was taken all the way to #1 on Billboard’s Top 40 Country chart by superstar Dan Seals in 1988.

Cheryl Wheeler (North Star W-0001), 1986. Cheryl’s self-titled first full-length album was produced by folk-rock legend Jonathan Edwards. Released by the Providence-based North Star Records in 1986, it became an instant classic and one of its songs, “Addicted,” was covered by superstar Dan Seals who took it all the way to #1 on Billboard’s Country Top 40 chart in 1988.

The follow-up, “Half A Book,” solidified her standing and she was picked up by the Nashville division of Capitol Records for her third album.

Half A Book (Cypress/Polygram 661-123-1), 1987. North Star scored an international distribution deal for the second album and Cheryl began to build a worldwide fan base.

Circles & Arrows (Capitol Nashville C4-92063), 1990. After the success of “Addicted,” Cheryl was signed to Capitol and received the full Nashville treatment. The stellar lineup of backing musicians included Vince Gill, Mark O’Connor, Jerry Douglas and Pam Tillis. Label mate Suzy Bogguss reached #9 Country with the song “Aces” in 1992.

Though she did not fit the mold of the Nashville “star-making machine” and was given her release, “Circles & Arrows” was an artistic triumph and further enhanced her reputation as a composer. In 1993, she settled into the more familiar surroundings of the folk, blues and roots label Philo-Rounder in Cambridge, Massachusetts and released a series of recordings of her comic and emotionally intense songs which are considered singer/songwriter classics around the world.

Mrs. Pinocci’s Guitar (Rounder 1192), 1996. Seeking a more folk-oriented company, Cheryl signed with the Cambridge-based Philo-Rounder Records in 1993 for the release of “Driving Home.” Its followup, “Mrs. Pinocci’s Guitar,” enjoyed universal acclaim. She remained with the company for three more releases.

Her songs have been covered by a wide range of artists including Kathy Mattea, Holly Near, Kenny Loggins, Garth Brooks, Bette Midler and Peter, Paul & Mary and she continues to tour extensively.

Boulder Folk and Bluegrass Festival, Colorado, 1996. Over the course of four decades, Cheryl’s star has continued to rise and she has appeared at every major folk festival in the U.S. including Boulder, Kerrville, Cambridge and, of course, the Newport Folk Festival.

Cheryl Wheeler was inducted into the Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame in a ceremony conducted on May 4, 2014.

Pointing At The Sun (Dias DIAS-1001), 2009. Cheryl started her own label for the release of “Pointing At The Sun,” her current release at the time of her induction into the Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame in 2014.

In 2010, sixty calligraphic artists visually interpreted the lyrics to seventy-three Cheryl Wheeler songs. Their incredible images were assembled into a beautiful coffee table book published by Marsh/Michaels of Boston.

CHERYL WHEELER LINKS & RESOURCES

Official Cheryl Wheeler website:
www.cherylwheeler.com
Cheryl’s official site is one of the best artist’s sites on the web. Besides a full bio and complete discography, there is an always-up-to-date news section, constantly updated gig schedule and many other features including her complete lyrics.

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