Friday, May 20 at 7:30 p.m. — PUTNEY — Next Stage Arts Project and Twilight Music present contemporary folk singer/songwriters Cheryl Wheeler and Kenny White at Next Stage on Friday, May 20 at 7:30 p.m.
It has always seemed as if there were two Cheryl Wheelers, with fans of the New England songwriter relishing watching the two tussle for control of the microphone. There is poet-Cheryl, writer of some of the prettiest, most alluring and intelligent ballads on the modern folk scene. And there is her evil twin, comic-Cheryl, a militant trend defier and savagely funny social critic. As the poet and comic forces join, taking their separate turns and melding into the same artistic vision, Wheeler emerges as a delightful, gifted and openhearted performer.
Poet-Cheryl writes honest songs of love and loss. Contrasting the prosaic landscapes of her native small-town America with the hopelessly rootless life of the traveling performer, she touches the common chords with any who feel the tug between our busy, unsettling times and the timeless longing for simplicity and silence. Her deceptively plain-spun songs have been hits for such mainstream stars as Suzy Bogguss and Dan Seals, and have been recorded by the likes of Bette Midler, Maura O’Connell, Peter Paul and Mary, Kenny Loggins, Holly Near and Garth Brooks. Comic-Cheryl comes on like Groucho in a housecoat—a fiercely everyday woman with a barbed-wire tongue. Shredding the mores of our gossipy, greedy, trend-obsessed culture, Wheeler always aims enough darts at herself to never seem sanctimonious.
Kenny White comes to the world of the touring singer-songwriter following a long and successful musical journey. He began his career in the 1970s, touring exclusively as the keyboard player for Jonathan Edwards and then with Livingston Taylor. Kenny became a fixture in the NYC studio scene throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s, producing and arranging hundreds of commercials for TV and radio, contributing to numerous film soundtracks, and working with the likes of Gladys Knight, Aaron Neville, Merle Haggard, Keith Richards, Linda Ronstadt, Marc Cohn, and Judy Collins. Hailed by reviewers from the New York Times to the San Francisco Chronicle for his “thrilling” and “unique” piano playing, Kenny chose, in 2001, to devote himself to making his own album, one that not only showcased his talent as a musician, but also as a lyricist. Since then, he has toured internationally as a solo artist (winning the International Songwriting Award at the Premio Ciampi music festival in Livorno, Italy), while continuing to perform with his good friend Cheryl Wheeler.
Next Stage is located at 15 Kimball Hill in downtown Putney. Tickets are $22 in advance, $25 at the door, or $5 for a virtual performance. For information, call 802-387-0102. Advance tickets are available at nextstagearts.org. Next Stage will provide a beer, wine, and cocktail cash bar.