Dirty Linen - 4-5/96, p.67
"...a scrapbook full of life's wide-ranging experiences...sharp-eyed and progressive..."
Personnel: Cheryl Wheeler (vocals, guitar); Jonathan Edwards (vocals, bongo); Kenny White (various instruments); Steuart Smith (acoustic high string guitar, electric guitar); John Jennings (acoustic & electric guitars, bass, background vocals); Al Petteway (acoustic guitar, guitar); Jeff Golub (electric guitar, mandolin); John Previty (arco bass); Bob Magnuson (flute, oboe); Joe Mennonna (accordion, melodica, organ); Jon Carroll (accordion, piano, organ); Lee Lachman (English horn); Ralph Gordon (acoustic bass); John Conte, J.T. Brown, Rico Petruccelli, Chip Jackson (bass); Tony Beard, Robbie Magruder (drums); Gary Burke (drums, percussion); Bob Dawson, Jonatha Brooke (background vocals).
Producers: Jonathan Edwards, Cheryl Wheeler.
Recorded at Bias Recording Studio, Springfield, Virginia. Includes liner notes by Cheryl Wheeler.
All songs written by Cheryl Wheeler.
Personnel: Kenny White (piano, keyboards); John Conte (electric bass).
Audio Mixer: Bob Dawson.
Recording information: Bias Recording Studios, Springfield, VA.
Photographer: Gwendolen Cates.
"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. ~ William Ruhlmann