In recent years, though, Suchy's music has expanded beyond this niche. His latest album, Evening in Paris, is still rooted in North Dakota but reaches out from there in very unusual ways. Its title track is a reminiscence of young people who would sit in cars and listen to clear-channel radio stations, bringing sounds of the city to their small town: "Mohair aroma, dime-store perfume / Evening in Paris, a prairie moon." The song's refrain consists of the call letters of various radio stations-a simple but wholly unexpected device. Suchy sings of inheriting the spirit of music from a Native American hitchhiker, of chains of unresolved issues that come down from ancestor to ancestor so that "we hear the ancient voices / in choices of our own." And "On the Banks of the Old Cannonball," about a German American under suspicion during World War I, is full of resonances for any American community today.
It's a mild-mannered but superb piece of work. And it's still full of wide-open spaces. Chuck Suchy makes music from the heart of the heart of the country.
[Review published September 2005]