In 1978, Mark Cloud (vocals, electric and acoustic guitars, dobro, mandolin, Appalachian dulcimer, keyboards) and Cheryl Cloud (songwriter, lead vocals, acoustic guitar) formed Common Ground, a folk-rock band featuring both traditional Celtic music and Cheryl's original songs. They were joined by Marcy Hogan (vocals, viola, keyboards), Scott Van Dusen (drums, percussion), and Bill Carrigan (vocals, bass, acoustic guitar). They were originally billed as Cheryl Cloud and Common Ground, becoming simply Common Ground after Cheryl's death. They performed live throughout the '80s at venues like the Troubadour, the Ice House, and Madame Wong's. They released an EP on vinyl, Leaving Love Behind, in 1981.
Although they recorded an archive of materials during the intervening years, Common Ground primarily focused on its live performances during the '80s and did not release further albums at that time. Sadly, Cheryl was diagnosed with cancer in 1991. In honor of her work to increase cancer awareness and her continued performances with Common Ground, even after 16 surgeries and the removal of most of one lung, Cheryl Cloud was given the American Cancer Society's Courage Award in 1994, prior to her death in 1995. 1994 also marked the release of Common Ground's first CD, Hard Choices.
Before her death, Cheryl requested that the other band members continue performing. Her husband Mark Cloud took over the lead vocals on Wings of Silver, released in 1996. Common Ground added singer Karen Ambellan in 1996 after the release of Wings of Silver, kept performing, and released Live at the Emu Farm, a tribute album for Cheryl, in 1998. In a surprise ceremony, Mark Cloud and his new fiancée Kari were married right after the Emu Farm performance. Common Ground continued with The Best, Vol. 1 and 2, a greatest-hits compilation covering 1979-1999, which they released in 2000 and 2001. They also posthumously released an album of Cheryl's solo performances, Songs of Christmas, Vol. 1 in 2000. More albums with additional selections from the archived recordings are scheduled for release in 2001.