Cheryl Wheeler (born July 10, 1951) is an American singer-songwriter of contemporary folk music, based in New England. To date, she has recorded thirteen folk albums, and has toured extensively throughout the United States. Wheeler was born in Timonium, Maryland, where she attended Dulaney High School. 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 and her partner, Cathleen, were married in 2004.
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 also toured with Kenny White (who produced a number of her albums). White generally opens for her, and then plays and sings harmony during Wheeler's set. Wheeler has also toured with the Christine Lavin-inspired tour "On a Winter's Night", and occasionally as part of Lavin's consortium Four Bitchin' Babes.
She has released albums on several major labels, the most recent being Dias 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. In 2009, she released the album Pointing at the Sun on her own recording label, Dias Records.
In 1988, Wheeler participated in a "trio" concert with fellow folk singer/songwriters Shawn Colvin and Mary Chapin Carpenter. This concert took place the year before Colvin released her debut album. The three performed on two consecutive nights to critical acclaim, at The Birchmere in Alexandria, VA. The two performances were recorded at the soundboard and although never released officially, have been favorites among fans of the three artists.
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, Kenny Loggins, Melanie, Holly Near and cabaret singer D.C. Anderson.
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 Adult Album Alternative radio stations.