Monday, September 22, 2008

Best Autumn cd Ever...

I don't know about you, but I personally only listen to certain music at specific times of the year. Autumn, being my favorite season of the year, is the time for folky, reflective and sentimental tunes. Over the years, I've owned thousands of LPs and cds, and about once a month a trade in a bunch that I don't listen to for new ones. One cd that always escapes my monthly purges is CHERYL WHEELER's DRIVING HOME. I'd had this disc since it first came out in 1993, and I've welcomed in each autumn since with a spin on my player. Today, being the first day of autumn was no exception.Cheryl Wheeler is an underrated singer/songwriter/storyteller who has a loyal fanbase and 11 albums to her credit. DRIVING HOME to me is like comfort food - each track a different flavor, but all comforting in their own way. I always liken the collection of songs on this disc to taking a road trip across America and meeting some interesting folks along the way. While I love the whole album, there are a few tracks that stand out.

The title tune, Driving Home is about just that - taking a long car trip from where you live now to where you came from. The tender lyrics are simple, yet poetic:
"I was driving home
Through the sunday bells
Through the trailer towns
Through the rolling hills"

Music is My Room reminds me of how I also would escape from "my so called (teenaged) life" through spinning 45s in my bedroom for an audience of no one:
"In my secret hideaway, I would play all night
So if you go out, hope you don't want me to.
I've got a rendezvous with a stack of forty fives"

Frequently Wrong But Never in Doubt is a sweet, and ultimately sad song about a boisterous family friend who touched her life. It features, a line that always kinda chokes me up.
"And I guess I've forgotten since I was a kid, 
I don't know why we loved him, I just know we did"

Just when you think Cheryl's gone all sappy, along comes Don't Forget The Guns - an hysterical hillbilly parody about America's obsession with road trips and weapons with brilliant lines like:
"Now don't forget the guns you know exactly what I mean
Bring the pistols, bring the uzi and the old AR-15
We don't look for trouble but by golly if we're in it
It's nice to know we're free to blow nine hundred rounds a minute"

75 Septembers is a loving tribute to her Dad, and how many things he must have seen in his long life, with the touching refrain:
"Cause now the fields are all four lanes
And the moon’s not just a name
Are you more amazed at how things change
Or how they stay the same
And do you sit here on this porch and wonder
How the times flies by
Or does it seem to barely creep along
With 75 Septembers come and gone"

Listening to When Fall Comes To New England is like looking at a beautifully detailed painting...
"When fall comes to new england
The sun slants in so fine
And the air's so clear
You can almost hear the grapes grow on the vine"

If you are a fan of intimate, textured songwriting, checkout DRIVING HOME.
All lyrics © Cheryl Wheeler


Jeff said...

My music choices are so totally dictated by the seasons. Glad to know that I'm not the only one!

Ronny said...

I found a website about Cheryl Wheeler. Check it out:

Bill Pringle said...

You simply *have* to see her perform. She is on the west coast at least once a year. You ABSOLUTELY owe it to yourself to do what it takes to attend a show. And when you do, you will be kicking yourself
for not doing it sooner. I promise. ... Trust me ... Have I ever lied to you before? ;^)

Bill Pringle