once told me not to worry about how to do it.
Critically acclaimed Seattle songwriter Sheryl Wiser calls her swinging, soulful music "rhythm & roots," but her work has a melodic and lyrical edge that defies categorization, not fitting nicely into any one musical niche. "it's a road that keeps getting wider, wilder and progressively more interesting she muses. "I constantly push myself to experiment and mature as a player, performer, writer and vocalist." The Seattle Times calls her "a gifted singer and songwriter. Wiser writes emotional, mythically stirring songs and delivers them with passion." Billboard says, "The songs are emotional and compelling. Well-constructed, vibrant material."
A "Jersey girl" and proud of it, Wiser got her earliest musical influences from her father's extensive collection of big band, jazz and swing. Her travels eventually took her to Seattle, where she made her mark as founding member, songwriter, guitarist and vocalist with the band Somebody's Daughter. Known for well-crafted, engaging songs and Wiser's powerful vibrant voice, the group enjoyed both regional and national recognition.
In September 1994, Wiser left the group to explore song writing that interested her as a solo artist, which then led to the recording and release of "Month of Saints. While Wiser was excited to be working on her own, the challenges she encountered were enormous to say the least. By spring of 1995, she developed an extensive repetitive strain injury to her hands, arms and upper body from years of guitar and computer work. It took more than two years of constant physical therapy, a grant from Sweet Relief Musician's Fund and long stretches without performing for Wiser to recover substantial physical mobility and her creative life. . One of the biggest changes was the shift from playing acoustic to electric guitar, which proved physically easier to handle while giving her a new sound. The Rocket wrote, "The change resulted in a punchier sound, especially when combined with her vocal confidence.
Always a potent lyricist, "Month of Saints" found Wiser with a sharper, more earthy voice. The Willamette Week wrote, "Now a solo artist, Wiser continues to write beautifully crafted songs that she delivers in a voice possessed of enormous range and sensibility. The songs are a rich mix of melodies, showcasing Wiser's love of "roots and rhythm" and lyrical sensibility. Whether it's the rich roots/folk of "Kitchen Table" or the cool swing of "Knock on Wood", these are songs that defy categorization yet blaze with an edgy, passionate soul.
Since the release of Month of Saints in November of 1996, Wiser has performed consistently through the Pacific Northwest with her tightly knit group, which includes Dan Ochipinti (drums and keyboards), Andrew Hare (bass) and guitarist Jim Vick. Plans for a second CD are underway.
Highlights: Sheryl has opened for Tori Amos, Luka Bloom, Crash Test Dummies, Dan Fogelberg, Peter Himmelman, Ellis Paul, Jill Sobule and The Paperboys. In March 1999, she was selected as one of 11 West Coast vocalists to audition for Cirque du Soleil in San Francisco.