In Search of Our Dead Poet Co-Writer… “Evening” w/Peter Macdonald Blachly

Nathans & Roncast logo. It looks like a vinyl record album.
Nathans & Roncast
In Search of Our Dead Poet Co-Writer… "Evening" w/Peter Macdonald Blachly

Who was Clarence Dan Blachly? Michael came upon his book of poems named “Stubble Fields,” published in 1939, when he was wandering through a used bookstore in Phoenixville, PA more than a decade ago. He was so taken with the beauty of the prose, he asked Aaron to help put music to one of the poems. That led to “I Stood Upon a Hill,” which opens Aaron & Michael’s first album. Michael set another Blachly poem, “Evening,” to music for the latest Nathans/Ronstadt project. 

Clarence Dan Blachly
Clarence Dan Blachly

But Clarence Dan Blachly remained something of a mystery. Aaron and Michael had been in touch with his great nephew, Peter Macdonald Blachly, and decided to take this opportunity to hear the story of this poet who died before either of them were born. And what a story it is. This poet was hardly who they expected; the elder Blachly was a complicated fellow, whose life story was not nearly as idyllic as the lyrical images from the book Michael found in the bookstore.

As it turns out, Peter Blachly, of Bath, Maine, is a musician too. He is guitarist and singer-songwriter with a musical resume that includes sharing the stage with many icons of folk and rock music – from Tim Hardin and Ramblin’ Jack Elliott to Chuck Berry, members of Phish, The Animals, and many others. 

Former president of the Maine Songwriters Association (2009 – 2013) and music columnist for the Coastal Journal (2014 – 2016), Peter co-authored with his wife Johannah Harkness the rock opera “One Way Trip to Mars,” that was first performed at Bath’s premier performance venue, the Chocolate Church, and at the Waterville Opera House.

Peter’s most recent album, “Higher Ground”, is a collection of well-known hymns written by his great-grandfather, Johnson Oatman, Jr. (1856 – 1922) that Peter has set to new music. The tracks can be previewed at this link. Peter has also published several books and is a licensed sea captain and certified Trauma Recovery Coach.

Peter Macdonald Blachly, with guitar, with lake in background
Peter Macdonald Blachly

Notably, he discovered and edited his grandfather’s memoir about life growing up on the Colorado Frontier, which he discusses in this interview. Learn more about the book at this link

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