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Eliza Gilkyson


Country of origin:

U.S.

Type of music generally:

Contemporary country/folk

Status:

Most recent release, The Nocturne Diaries (2014)

See also:

Eliza Gilkyson's site

Wikipedia's entry on Eliza Gilkyson

Comparisons:

Emmylou Harris, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Lucinda Williams, Ferron

Covers/own material:

Own, occasional covers

General comments:

Eliza has become a real favorite of mine in the last few years. The last new song I heard was "Tender Mercies", which was brilliant. Made me very eager for her next album, whenever that might be. (neal)

Comments about live performance:

I owe Amazon.com a big debt, here it was one of their "If you liked x, you'll like y" messages that set me on to Eliza Gilkyson in the first place. Last night she finally made it to England, playing the Borderline in London to an appreciative audience. Eliza's music is more country than I'd normally listen to, but she puts it across with such beauty, humour and grace, that it goes down a treat. Taking the stage with an acoustic guitar and accompanied only by another guitarist (yes, she mentioned his name several times, and I missed it each time) she wove together a wonderful evening of music and rambling, fascinating anecdotes. Some time ago, Neal kindly sent me a recording of a living room concert she did, but I'd forgotten how downright funny she is. Normally, this kind of inter-song talk can really irritate me, but I could have listened to her all night. One story started to be about guitarists, and somehow ended up being about a naked Jerry Garcia. Apart from generous helpings of her back-catalogue (including one so old her accompanist didn't know it, but rose to the challenge, anyway) she also debuted a couple of new songs, born out of current events, that were as powerful and moving as anything she's ever done, played us her contribution to the Greg Brown tribute album (which sounds great) and rounded it all off with an encore of "Bear Necessities" (her dad wrote it) which had everyone singing along, and realising how little of it they actually knew. It was a beautiful, moving, and thoroughly charming evening, and Eliza seemed encouraged by the response, promising to return to England soon. (5/22/03, adamk@zoom.co.uk)

I actually saw Eliza twice this year (2005). I was sure that her Santa Fe performance in the beautiful Santuario de Guadalupe would be THE Eliza show of the year, but the sound wasn't that great and it was a heavy, political night. The next night at the Botanic Gardens, she pulled out the stops with a totally crowd-pleasing performance that highlights why Eliza is one of my favorite folk performers out there right now. (neal)

Recommended first album:

Hard Times in Babylon and Lost and Found are the only ones we've heard

Recordings:

  • Love From the Heart (as Lisa Gilkyson, 1979)
  • Pilgrims (1986)
  • Legends of Rainmaker (1988)
  • Through the Looking Glass (1992)
  • Undressed (1994)
  • Redemption Road (1996)
  • Misfits (compilation, 1999)
  • Hard Times in Babylon (2000)
  • More Than a Song (w/ Ad Vanderveen and Iain Matthews, 2001)
  • Lost and Found (2002)
  • Land of Milk & Honey (2004)
  • RetroSpecto (compilation, 2005)
  • Paradise Hotel (2005)
  • Your Town Tonight (2007)
  • Beautiful World (2008)
  • Roses At The End Of Time (2011)
  • The Nocturne Diaries (2014)

Hard Times in Babylon

Release info:

2000—Red House Records—RHR 0146

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Eliza Gilkyson—vocals, acoustic guitar, kazoo, harmonica, organ

Guest artists:

Glenn Fukunaga—bass
Matt Andes—acoustic & electric guitars, slide guitar, background vocals
Mark Hallman—accordion, background vocals
David Webb—Hammond B-3 organ
Mike Hardwick—acoustic guitar, dobro
Rafael Gayol—drums
John Egenes—mandolin
Randy McCullogh, Delia Castillo—background vocals

Produced by:

Eliza Gilkyson, Mark Hallman

Comments:

Not exactly my kind of stuff, a bit too country for my tastes, but some wonderful songs on here, and she has a distinctive voice, reminding me—at times—of Ferron. Regular curveballs up the joy factor, including the bizarre guitar breaks of "Engineer Bill" and the half-spoken, half-sung "Flatline", which is truly haunting. Highly recommended for people into Emmylou Harris, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Lucinda Williams, etc, and recommended for ectos on the basis that it's really very good. This one got under my skin, and I keep...well, coming home to it. (adamk@zoom.co.uk)

Hard Times in Babylon is really incredible. I saw her perform a lot of those songs last year without having heard any of her music. I had the sense she was a vaguely new agey folk singer (and her press pack says she's been saddled with that image based on one album she put out). But these songs were not even remotely new agey, dealing very directly with the issues of being middle-aged and an artist. Very striking music. (neal)


Lost and Found

Release info:

2002—Red House Records—RHR 0162

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Eliza Gilkyson—vocals, acoustic guitar

Guest artists:

Lloyd Maines—dobro
Michael Ramos—Hammond B-3 organ
Rich Brotherton—mandolin, background vocals
Glenn Fukunaga—bass
Mark Hallman—percussion, background vocals
Cisco Ryder—drums, cajon
Andrew Hardin—electric guitar
Gurt Morlix—slide guitar
Wally Dogget—drums, percussion
Johnny Goudie, Jeff Klein—background vocals

Produced by:

Mark Hallman, Eliza Gilkyson

Comments:

Great album (Marion)

Eliza reminds me of a few other artists that effect in a similar way. I will hear some stuff and think just OK, then boom I'm blindsided by something that knocks my socks off. Lost and Found is that kind of CD. Right nice piece of work. (jsutton@rahul.net)


Further info:

Eliza released the DVD Live From Austin, Texas—Eliza Gilkyson in 2007. Her recordings appear on numerous compilations, including a cover of "Sleeper" for Going Driftless: An Artists' Tribute to Greg Brown (2002).


Thanks to JoAnn Whetsell for work on this entry.

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