Reconnecting with Erica Wheeler – Good Summer Rain
So CDs and albums to me sometimes are like toys are to kids. You find a new one you like it, you play it for a while and then it gets put on the shelf or now in your mp3 library and you occasionally hear songs from the album. One of those albums for me is The Harvest by Erica Wheeler. The album is a great album filled with great story songs about people and places. So the other day I decided to go and check out what new stuff Erica may have released since The Harvest. I first went to Rhapsody and they had two albums that have been released since the 1996 release of The Harvest. One live album Almost Like Tonight released on 2005 and Good Summer Rain released in 2007. So I put Good Summer Rainon the mp3 player and gave it a listen.
What I found was another album filled with good songs about people and places. One thing that I like is an artist who can create a “sense of place” in their music. Artist who paint pictures with words so that you’re taken to places that you’ve never been. Jack Williams music does that for me as does Jesse Winchester’s music, particularly “Mississippi You’re on My Mind”. Anyway Erica’s music does that for me. So after the first listen I was going to write about the album. I went to her website and what I found was that Erica has combined her love both of music and nature, she started college as a Wildlife Biology major and created The Soulful Landscape Project in an attempt to restore the connect between people and place, as the subtitle of her website says. From the website here is some information about the project:
An award-winning singer/songwriter with a lifelong interest in natural history, cultural history and conservation issues, Erica has created programs that are both educational and inspiring. She links her stories and songs to the mission of your event with skill and passion. Erica connects deeply with organizations she works with, and looks forward to learning about you and your place.
Erica has offered her Soulful Landscape programs at conference, events and learning centers across the country, from Yosemite National Park (CA) to the Walden Woods Institute (MA). Her work connecting people and place has been featured in national publications such as Orion, Yes! and Yankee magazines.
But back to the album which like I said the album is filled with good songs about people and places. Some of my favorite tracks include, the title track “Good Summer Rain” which describes the feeling of lose when development overtakes farmland. I know how she feels because much of the farmland that I remember here in NJ has been developed and now like she says in the song “traffic backs up now most all the time“. “Apache Motel”, “Muddy Waters” , The First Sunset” and “Elk Song”. But again all the songs are well crafted and create that “sense of place” Again from her website:
GOOD SUMMER RAIN was sponsored in part by The Trust for Public Land, a national organization which works to conserve land for people. Erica and TPL are working together to help foster the connection between people and place, inspiring the sense of engagement needed to participate in land stewardship today
What others are saying about the album:
“Listening to Good Summer Rain is like flipping through the photo album of an Ansel Adams road trip. Each artfully created song transports the listener to a particular location, like a snapshot in time.” -Planet Jackson Hole News
So if you’ve never heard Erica check her music and The Soulful Landscape Project out!
Here is a video Erica’s brother made using photos taken by their Dad on those trips down Maryland county roads. Her song “Maryland County Road” from The Harvest is the soundtrack