On Susannah Blachly's third solo release, Come on Home, the Marshfield musician shows off her talents as both a songwriter and a performer — and even as a composer of Latin-flavored pop. The latter number, "After Rain," features a sinuous groove cooked up by Vermont mandolin wizard Will Patton. He's one of many talented guest musicians who makes this stylistically varied disc sound like a party you'd like an invitation to.
Blachly tags a number of musical bases on this CD: sweet lullabies such as "Another Day," which features a wonderful duet with Maple Corners musician Lewis Franco; rollicking, old-timey two-step on "Honey Man"; and down-and-dirty blues on "The Other Side."
Showcasing Blachly's talents as a storyteller, two songs in particular weave tales that just stick with you. The album's title track is a heart-wrencher about a woman waiting for her husband to return from war. "Little Butterfly" is a bittersweet tale about setting your kids free to find their own way.
As she did on her previous "solo" outings, Blachly employs the talents of guitarist/singer Colin McCaffrey throughout Come on Home. The central Vermont musician always wears many hats, here serving as co-producer, arranger and studio musician.
Each of the recording's 13 tracks is original, though alternate versions of two songs — "Boatman" and "Honey Man" — were recently released on a CD by the Vermont acoustic band Wagtail, of which Blachly is a member. That these songs are repeated gives us a clue into this composer's approach to her craft: For Blachly, it seems the music is always "in process" rather than frozen in time.
The most powerful songs on Come on Home are the ones that sound the least "produced." They create the impression that Blachly is singing directly to the listener from a comfortable place at home. The aforementioned "Another Day" is a perfect example, and it's a fine album closer.
Susannah Blachly will be holding a release party for Come on Home at one of her favorite venues, the Plainfield Town Hall, this Friday, November 2. You can be sure many musical friends will join her onstage.