With six years having past since Wheeler's last full-length studio collection (1999's Sylvia Hotel), the much-anticipated Defying Gravity overflows with a wealth of exquisitely crafted, powerfully resonant original songs. While her compositions have been recorded by artists as diverse as Suzy Bogguss, Garth Brooks, Bette Midler, and Linda Thompson, Wheeler's burnished alto, nimble guitar playing, and sly sense of humor insure that she will always be her own best interpreter. Standout tracks on Defying Gravity, like the bittersweet 'Summer's Almost Over,' the aching opener 'Since You've Been Gone,' and the careful character study 'Alice,' are defined equally by Wheeler's gifts as a writer and performer. 'On the Plane' and 'It's the Phone,' both recorded live in concert at the now-defunct Bottom Line in New York City, are priceless examples of Wheeler the satirist. Taken as a whole, Defying Gravity paints a portrait of a performer and composer continuing to discover rewarding new avenues in her finely-developed craft.