Welcome to the ReverbNation page of Americana, roots and blues musician Sheryl Wiser. The Seattle based singer, songwriter and guitarist has crafted a soulful and uniquely compelling style of music combining elements of roots, blues, alt-country, jazz, folk and rock. With her signature red Parker Fly electric guitar, Wiser also displays a dynamic range of percussive guitar work and rhythmic textures.
The Seattle Times writes "Always a potent lyricist, Wiser writes emotional, rhythmically stirring songs and delivers them with passion. Her music is sharp and clean, featuring a sweet, powerful voice tempered by rich, stunning melody. Her music compels you to listen, and as you’re drawn into the web she weaves of thoughts and feelings and ideas, you find yourself walking on the edge of a quick wit sharpened with water-deep emotions.”
A self-described "Jersey girl” and proud of it, Wiser got her earliest musical influences from her father’s big band, jazz and swing 78's, plus a heady collection of Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday, Aretha Franklin and other soul classics of the 60's and 70's. These days, her smokey, sinewy and vibrant voice along with her gift for phrasing, continues to show the influence of those early years and her maturity as a vocalist. Not content to just let it rip, she instinctively understands how to convey deeply felt emotions with grit and grace. "Along with her sharp twists of the pen as a lyricist, Wiser has the savvy and emotional confidence of a vocalist one usually only hears from jazz singers," writes The Willamette Week.
Coming of age in Boston and Denver where she played the folk coffee house scene, Wiser's musical life in Seattle came of age at the same time grunge was taking hold. Playing a fearless blend of alt-folk/alt-country with her renowned band Somebody's Daughter, Wiser (the group's vocalist, rhythm guitarist and a primary songwriter) and her band flew in the face of popular Seattle music-making at the time, crafting dense story-songs that packed a punch, despite the appearance of acoustic guitars and a violin. Billboard Magazine wrote "The songs are emotional and compelling and Wiser takes the forefront in live performance. Well-constructed, vibrant material that is right in step with what is apparently becoming the post-grunge Seattle sound: a richer, more melodic mix that doesn't ignore the city's serrated sensibilities." Apparently, Musician Magazine agreed, selecting the group as a finalist in their "Best Unsigned Band" contest in 1994.
In 1994, Wiser left the band to explore life as a solo artist and continued making her way through the Northwest music scene along with stints at legendary New York venues like The Bitter End and Sin-é. She has also opened for several national artists including Tori Amos, Luka Bloom, Crash Test Dummies, Peter Himmelman, Dan Fogelberg, Jill Sobule and Patty Larkin and was invited to audition as a vocalist for Cirque du Soleil.
In 1996 while working on her debut CD "Month of Saints" with her brand new trio, Wiser was diagnosed with extensive repetitive strain injury to her arms, wrists and upper body from years of guitar and computer work. After nearly two years of twice weekly physical and occupational therapy, she returned to performing with a new guitar and sound, switching from bulky acoustic guitars to her beloved four-pound Parker Fly guitar. The change resulted in "a punchier sound, especially when combined with her vocal confidence," noted the Seattle Weekly.
Wiser continued to perform with her trio, The TomCat Orchestra at festivals like Bumbershoot and Northwest Folklife, as well as concerts, colleges, showcases and clubs throughout the Northwest. However, in 2002 she found herself in a place of musical dormancy that lasted through 2011 when she began performing at Cafe Racer in Seattle's Roosevelt district, where she credits the inviting and inclusive community of artists and musicians for re-connecting her musical life and momentum. The shootings at the cafe on May 30, 2012, which took the lives of friends and neighbors only strengthened her resolve to return to music and remain connected to community on as many levels as possible.
In September 2012 she formed the blues/roots duo The Beautiful Strangers with guitarist Pete Alba performing together until September, 2015 when life as solo artist beckoned once again. Performing several times a month, Wiser can be seen at local clubs, festivals, house concerts and at local farm events. She is decidedly looking forward to her musical future, which includes recording and many more live performances.