No longer Oh Susanna, the singer-songwriter has stripped down to the essentials, with concise and clear portraits of friends, family and loves, hers and others. The songs are tender and uncluttered, with her warm, emotional voice in command, graced with guitar and subtle touches of atmosphere and percussion from producer Jim Bryson.
These are the best and worst of situations. "Disappear" is about a child trying to hide, both literally and figuratively, from an abusive father. Meanwhile, "Baby Blues" features a woman struggling with the moment of decision: "Please don't leave us alone, please don't break up our home." At the other end of the spectrum, "Summerbaby" is a celebration of Ungerleider's own daughter, all joy and love and amazement: "You had my heart wrapped up in your tiny fingers."
There's a song about the high school rebel hero, half-good, half-bad girl, "North Star Sneakers," which sees her now in a conventional home, two kids and a yard. It's a simple question, was it what she wanted? But it's the stuff of life, is that all there is? Sweet and sad memories, halcyon days, tragedies big and small, Suzie Ungerleider documents those moments with grace and beauty.