MP3 Haley Sheeler - Closer to the Ground
A voice beyond her years . . . fresh, soulful, sultry and engaging
13 MP3 Songs
FOLK: Modern Folk, FOLK: Political
“An experience akin to the first time you ever heard Sarah McLachlan, Eva Cassidy, or KT Tunstall”
“Endearing, brilliant interpretation”
“It’s hard not to be lulled into her tales by the siren of her voice”
So, just who is original singer/songwriter Haley Sheeler? . . .
Pennsylvania native, Haley Sheeler, has had a love affair with music all of her life. While her parents had no musical training (or as they readily admit, no musical talent, for that matter), the Sheeler home was never quiet. Music was always there, all genres, always floating through the house from the radio or stereo or her father’s collection of old phonographs. Some of Haley’s earliest memories are of James Taylor’s music, a favorite of her mother’s, and dancing to scratchy old, turn-of-the century records played on one of her Dad’s antique Victrolas.
With so much melody around her, it wasn’t surprising when Haley asked to take piano lessons, which she began at the age of 6 and continued for 12 years. During that time, she also added flute, baritone, guitar and banjo to her repertoire. While her love for piano and classical compositions still lingers, her ultimate musical high came when, at the age of 13, she picked up the guitar and began to write music, finding her voice, both literally and figuratively.
Soon thereafter, another pivotal moment occurred in Haley’s life when she joined her parents at a Jackson Browne concert. As she watched Browne on the stage, alone, with only his guitar collection and piano, putting together an impromptu set list with requests literally shouted from the audience, Haley says, “it was one of those moments. Everyone knew his music. I thought how cool it would be for everyone to know my music.” It was an experience that confirmed what she had known in her heart all along . . . she wanted to perform.
At the age of 15, she started making the rounds in the coffeehouse circuit and performing throughout southeastern Pennsylvania with a local showcase group, the Acoustic Roadshow. Inspired greatly by notable singer/songwriters of the 1960’s and 70’s, such as Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Jackson Browne, Carole King, Bob Dylan and Bob Marley, as well as current greats, Sarah McLachlan, Ani DiFranco, Joan Osbourne, Natalie Merchant, Ben Harper, and Damien Rice, her sets featured crowd-pleasing retro covers as well as her own original music.
In 2005, deciding that it was time to transform her life-long love affair with music into something tangible, Haley headed for the recording studio. In August of that year, at the age of 17, she released her debut CD. Entitled “Closer to the Ground,” the CD has been met with critical acclaim in the media throughout southeastern Pennsylvania. The guitar-based, 13 track CD, covers some lesser-touched musical classics (“For What It’s Worth”/Stephen Stills; “Hallelujah”/Leonard Cohen; and “You Can Close Your Eyes”/James Taylor) and brings something resembling brilliant interpretation to the table in regenerating these pieces. While the familiar aspects of the songs are endearing, the freshness of her voice, her ability to do sultry slide or precision hard chop, all conspire to make a first listen to her renditions an experience akin to the first time you ever heard Sarah McLachlan, Eva Cassidy, or KT Tunstall. As for the 7 originals songs heard on the CD (7-1/2 if you count a partial rewrite of “What Is It Good For?/War”), she continues with a commanding use of her vocals, variously being the lamenting soul or the wistful dreamer; and it’s hard not to be lulled into her tales by the siren of her voice.
With the release of “Closer to the Ground,” her fan base grew, as did the demand for her performances. Showcasing with the Acoustic Roadshow remained an ongoing staple in her schedule as well. While giving her an opportunity to perform at a wide variety of venues, the Roadshow also afforded her a chance to meet countless other local musicians, some of whom would inspire her further and help define her musical direction. Three such musicians were Kellen Wenrich, Jordan Capizzi and Andrew Killough, who together formed a local group known as “Share the Bread.” Haley and the trio started sharing some shows and jamming together, and she found herself drawn to their acoustic folk rock style and their unique interpretation of some standard folk ballads. Slowly, she was discovering a new passion . . . that of the pure and simple sound of classic folk and the down-home flavor of country music. The result was a change in the direction of her performance, one now speckled with new and used country tunes, as well as her own brand of folk reminiscent of the Woodstock era.
Determined to move forward with this new-found love, upon graduation from high school in June, 2006, she formed her own production company, “Red Boot Productions,” went back into the studio, and in December, 2006, released her second CD titled “Walkin’ West.” The 14-track disc boasts 8 original songs, 4 covers and 2 traditional folk tunes. Unlike her acoustic guitar-based debut CD, this second CD features fuller, very befitting folk/country instrumentation by a number guest musicians, including her talented “Share the Bread” friends, and her percussionist brother, Evan, to name a few. Haley takes her time on the CD’s 8 originals, which she describes as “alternative folk.” All top the five-minute mark and reflect her gift for melody, as well as her ability to spin engaging narratives, with lines often seeping into memory upon first listen. Haley also teamed up with her mother, Cheryl Geiger Sheeler, for three of the songs, adding melody to lyrics penned by Cheryl. The originals on the album are broken up by shorter covers, including fresh and spirited versions of songs by Dolly Parton (“Jolene”), Bob Dylan (“I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight”) and Patsy Cline (“Walking After Midnight”).
And, so, that’s Haley''s story so far . . . to be continued, for sure.
Haley’s performance schedule, along with photos and further information, can be found by visiting her website at https://www.tradebit.com. For bookings, e-mail Haley at AcousticHaley@https://www.tradebit.com.