Wednesday, January 14, 2009

It's a Cheryl Wheeler kinda weekend at the Iron Horse. Friday and Saturday 1/16 and 1/17 at 7PM.

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!

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 a emotional roller coaster.

Her set list used to be a crumpled piece of paper with a bunch of song titles. She has improved on that. Now she has a picture of her border collie James in a plastic holder with the set list written on a piece of paper tucked behind the picture. 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.

Has anyone ever seen Claire Higgins and Cheryl in the same room?

Northampton Mayor Claire Higgins (left) and Cheryl Wheeler (right)

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