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Mrs. Pinocci's Guitar

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Album Review

"Is It Peace or Is It Prozac?," asked Cheryl Wheeler on the funniest song of her fifth album, Mrs. Pinocci's Guitar. But a listen to the whole album belied the humor of that tune and its comic companions, the anti-television diatribe "TV" and the lambasting of right-wing attitudes "Makes Good Sense to Me." If Wheeler had once been on mood enhancers, she seemed to be off them for most of this album, which had a melancholy tone with its slow tempos and minor keys. Romantic dissolution seemed at the bottom of this sadness, on songs like "Does the Future Look Black," "School Girls," "So Far to Fall," and "Piper," but it extended to natural threats on "The Rivers" and "The Storm," and to the threat of aging in "Time Taketh Away," to the point on "Howl At The Moon" that the singer was wishing she was an animal who didn't have to do much more than eat and sleep. Wheeler seemed to be struggling against such depression, filling the CD booklet with family snapshots, opening the album with the warm-hearted title song, and concluding it with a rough demo performance of the uncertainly hopeful "One Love." But the overall theme of the record was dour enough to suggest that peace through Prozac might not be such a bad idea.

Biography

Born: 10 July 1951 in Baltimore, MD

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Known for her comic as well emotionally intense songs, folk singer/songwriter Cheryl Wheeler was raised in Timonium, Maryland, and began playing the guitar and ukulele as a child. She first performed professionally at a local restaurant, but soon graduated to clubs in the Baltimore and Washington, D.C., areas. In 1976, she moved to Rhode Island, where she became a protégé of country-folk singer/songwriter Jonathan Edwards, for whom she initially served as bass player. Her first recording, a four-song...
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