Come Home to Me
Released June 2013
This CD is a charming and delightful listen through nine originals and two covers by Seattle-based Melissa Jane Pandiani (Pandi) and Amelia Boksenbaum (Milly Raccoon). Recorded at Empty Sea Studio by Michael Connolly, who also plays upright bass, the production is true to their performances with Pandi on guitar, Milly on fiddle and mandolin, and both on crystal clear lead and harmony vocals.
It’s remarkable how well matched these two women are in both their songwriting and vocal skills. They both write creative, whimsical songs in a blend of Americana, folk and old-style country with a hint of old-time Appalachian and bluegrass. Their harmonies are sometimes as close as the Everly Brothers and other times move apart unexpectedly. Their ethereal voices are perfect for their quirky and interesting lyrics that range from reporting on the ups and downs of love to introducing mythical characters.
One of my favorites is Pandi’s upbeat song, Ghost Girl:
“Fresh off the train from heartbreak city, as a ghost girl I come into Nashville town /
First outlaw I see comin’ with his licorice lover’s lies, /
I’ll draw my pistol and I’ll cut him down… /
My heart it bleeds, can’t get no sleep, I must remind myself to breathe now and then /
I’m dustin’ off my knees and I’m headed east, and I’m never gonna hurt like this again.”
No Buying Time by Milly sets uncommon lyrics to an old-fashioned country melody:
“I’m an animal, so stay away, don’t lie your lies to me /
I’m an alien and I’m leaving soon, there’s no buying time with me… /
I’ve got hidden swords all over me, I’m a fortress of disease /
I’ve got hidden songs and haunting dreams, I’m gone so mote it be.”
Little Bunny by Milly is a barnburning instrumental featuring the fiddle in a minor key with some interesting chord progressions. Jack of the Wood by Pandi is a happy, hoedown kind of song driven again by Milly’s old-timey fiddle bow. They even break into Whiskey Before Breakfast right in the middle of it.
“Well he opened up his hand and released a firefly /
Took me to his dwelling up along the mountainside /
Asked me for forever and I wondered if I could, then he cast his shade on another maid, Now we call him Jack of the Wood.”
Of the two covers, my favorite is the Louvins’ Hide and Seek. The vocals are sweet and high-energy, and the guitar, mandolin, fiddle and bass keep our toes tapping.
The Gloria Darlings have played at festivals and concerts and busked nationwide. Their sound is a little raw instrumentally, reminiscent of a street show. Milly’s strength is on the fiddle, seeming more comfortable playing leads on it than on mandolin, where there are issues of timing and leaving lead phrases not quite complete. Pandi is a strong guitar strummer and a smooth fingerpicker. This new CD should put these two artists on the map with their endearing, down-home and innovative music.