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Music Review: Erica Wheeler

Music Review: Erica Wheeler
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How often do we hear about another old farm being demolished and redeveloped as a subdivision or strip mall? And how often do we write off the fight to stop it with a sigh and a shrug? While studying animal biology at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts, Erica Wheeler discovered that being right didn’t necessarily mean that people would listen, so she traded her microscope for a six-string and took her message of conservation on the road.

Two decades and five albums later, Wheeler is known for her ability to capture the essence of a place and the lives people live there. An acoustic folkie with a subtle country twang, she pursues her lyrical activism from her home in Western Massachusetts. Her songs measure the cost of urban sprawl not in terms of species endangered but in memories lost. Her lyrics evoke all the trails we’ve hiked, the streams swum, the trees climbed, and all the moments of growth enjoyed there–the silent epiphanies, the stolen kisses–without ever sounding preachy.

But when she drops the truism, “Your children won’t know [the land] the way I did,” the message hits home and suddenly your local zoning battle may seem a little more interesting.

For audio tracks and a performance schedule, go to: ericawheeler.com

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