Cheryl Wheeler (born July 10, 1951) is an American singer/songwriter of contemporary folk music, based in New England. Her songs range in tone from silly to serious. Frequent topics are love relationships, descriptions of places or events, and profiles of people. She is listed as one of the top Contemporary Singer-Songwriters by the AllMusic Guide.
Wheeler was born in Timonium, Maryland. She performed at clubs in the Washington, D.C. and Baltimore area. She moved to Rhode Island in 1976, where she played at various clubs in the New England area. Jonathan Edwards asked her to tour with him when his bass player became unavailable. He has since produced a number of her albums.
Wheeler tours extensively, and her live concerts include comic routines and serious discussions in addition to the songs themselves. About half of the songs she performs in concerts are not available on any of her albums. Many never get recorded, and eventually fade from her set list. Although she mostly tours alone, she has recently toured with Kenny White (who produced her first EP album). White generally opens for her, and then plays and sings harmony during Wheeler's set. Wheeler also frequently tours with the Christine Lavin-inspired tour "On a Winter's Night", and has occasionally toured as part of Lavin's consortium Four Bitchin' Babes.
She has released albums on several major labels, the most recent being Rounder Records. She also approved the production of a double disc album No Previous Record that contains songs that never made it onto a commercial recording. Distribution of this album is free, but restricted to members of her e-mail list.
Her song "If It Were Up to Me" (which was written shortly after the Jonesboro Massacre), with the closing line "If it were up to me, I'd take away the guns" got nationwide attention shortly after the Columbine High School massacre. Wheeler released that recording into the public domain to exempt radio stations from paying royalties (it was being played every hour near the high school), and Rounder Records ran a promotional campaign to donate money to the Brady Campaign each time the song was played on AAA radio stations.
Although primarily classified as a folk singer/songwriter, Wheeler has been covered by a number of country music artists, such as Dan Seals, Suzy Bogguss, Kathy Mattea, Sylvia, and Garth Brooks, as well as artists as diverse as Peter, Paul, and Mary, Bette Midler, Melanie, Holly Near and cabaret singer D.C. Anderson.