Mike Blanchard’s music confirms the common Christian experience.

Michael Kelly Blanchard has confirmed his special niche in Christian folk music with his second album, Quail. Intertwining the many varied elements of human experience, Blanchard writes and performs songs that are emotionally honest. Absent are the stock Christian phrases and curt religious comfort. Instead, we have fresh glimpses of that many-faceted jewel—a Christian faith.

Quail features Michael’s classical guitar played in a folk style, and his rich baritone voice, backed by the delicate contralto voice of his wife, Greta. Blanchard’s innovative guitar work, his occasionally gruff voice, and Greta’s soothing tones are fine musical forms for his poetic insight. Thanks to the assistance of Noel (Paul) Stookey, the album is technically immaculate, but never slick. It is perfect for the spectrum of humanity that Blanchard portrays.

Side one is the everyman side. Four of the six songs explore the glory, shame, and ambiguity of love. “Opposite’s Game” humorously celebrates the mystery of how a couple’s differences pull them together. In “Nicole,” a simple man laments the loss of his lady, and warns her of the false promises of the city and the “flashing, fancy minds.” “Personals” juxtaposes, then blends, two lonely, middle-aged pleas for companionship. The subtle suggestion that the two find each other makes the otherwise sad song gleam. Spanning the extremes of love is “Home to Stay.” It is set after a love has died, but it expresses a thanksgiving for that love, and a quiet conviction that: “Down the road there is a day, as simple as it seems/When love will bring you home to stay/And give you back your dreams/And give you back your dreams.” Amidst the perplexing ...

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