Special to the Herald
January 14, 2000
"We've seen Holyoke at Sunrise," Erica Wheeler said, with more than a trace of irony in her voice, as she and Beth Amsel shuffled into the WWUH studios for a live radio appearance Wednesday morning. Wheeler and Amsel are neighbors in Northampton, MA and though Amsel will be opening the show for Wheeler at Roaring Brook Nature Center on Saturday evening, it's sheer coinceidence that the neighbors will be carpooling to the event.
"When Stan Sullivan (who books the Roaring Brook concert series) called me and asked if I would like to have Beth open the show, I said she's mt neighbor, "Wheeler explained. "I don't think he really understood at first. He thought that we both just lived in the same town. But we're really neighbors. I can get from my back door to Beth's in just a few minutes."
"That's right," Amsel amplified. "This morning I called her very early and said this is your five minute warning."
"It's a good thing she did," Wheeler shot back. "I had just about pulled the alarm clock from the wall from hitting the snooze alarm too many times." They should take this show in the road. And they will be, Saturday.
Wheeler is a critically acclaimed singer and songwriter who writes songs, as she readily admits, with a deep sense of place. There may be a lot of geography in her songs, but there's alseo a great deal of deep feeling and strong melody.
Amsel is newer to the music game, but she has a growing reputation. Born in New York, raised in Colorado, she returned to the East Coast to pursue her musical dream. Last year she was in a serious car wreck and while she looks and sounds great, she's still got regular appointments with the physical therapist to get her strength back.
"It's amazing how resillient the body and the spirit are," she said. Amsel just sold out the first run of a self produced CD (the same songs as those which appeared on her self produced cassette), and she's a regular on the Voices on the Verge tour (with Rose Polenzani, Jess Klein, and Erin McKeown). They plan to record a live album in DC this winter.
With two such beautiful voices, Roaring Brook Nature Center will be graced with amazing song on Saturday evening.