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Erica Wheeler

Spirituality & Health Magazine
reviewed by Kristine Morris

Good Summer Rain
Blue Pie Music / BMI

Wheeler’s voice comes from the heart and is strong and true, with just enough of a rasp to make us feel that she’s lived some. Her songs tell of our connection to the land and carry a warning that shortsightedness, greed, and urban sprawl are swiftly destroying the places that create our sweetest memories and nurture our souls.

“As the Crow Flies” is a cry of longing for communication that is as straight, true, and unhindered as the flight of the bird can be. “Good Summer Rain” is a lament for the values of America’s endangered rural communities — places where “people pay leaving money in an old coffee can.” With shops, houses, and paved roads covering what used to be rich farmland, Wheeler sings out: “That farm still haunts me, like it’s calling out my name. Don’t it seem like a waste of good summer rain?”

“Apache Motel” describes a place long gone, with trout thick in its river and bison rumbling across the land — a valley that still holds the ghosts of its original inhabitants, their memory brought to life  by the smell of sweet grass and the glide of a hawk.

The ensemble consists of acoustic guitar, Dobro, mandolin, octave mandolin, piano, strings, organ, upright bass, drums, and percussion. If wanting could make it so, Wheeler’s heartfelt songs would bring these lost places back again; lacking that magical ability, they may help us value those that remain.

Good Summer Rain was sponsored in part by the Trust for Public Land and was awarded first place in the Interpretive Music Category at the 2008 National Association for Interpretation Annual Conference.

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