Eliza Gilkyson

REVIEW: Eliza Gilkyson “Songs From the River Wind”


Eliza Gilkyson — Songs From the River Wind

Eliza Gilkyson has a new album Songs From the River Wind, due to be released on Jan 14 via Howlin’ Dog Records.   It was co-produced by Gilkyson and Don Richmond.  The songs feature Eliza Gilkyson on vocals and acoustic guitar, Don Richmond on many instruments and vocals, with the Rifters (Rod Taylor and Jim Bradley) singing backing vocals.  Additional musicians appearing on the album are Warren Hood on fiddle, Kym on mandolin, John Genes on autoharp, and Michael Herne on vocals and guitar.

“Wanderin'” was an early single release.  In 1958, this song was recorded by Gilkyson’s father Terry Gilkyson with his band the Easy Riders.  Eliza closely compares the Rifters (her backing band on the album) with the Easy Riders.  This was was originally a traditional Irish ballad that has been modified, and Eliza has rewritten it from a female protagonist’s point of view:  “I had a guitar man in Austin, a friend in Santa Fe, and a cowboy up in Jackson who tempted me to stay.”  It’s really lovely and enjoyable.

“Buffalo Gals Redux” is an easy dance number, the female lyrical protagonist dances with a guy with a hole in his sock and we’re right there with her. Multi layered instruments and vocal harmonies make this one a celebration.  “Dance by the light of the moon.”  This is another traditional number interpreted by Gilkyson.

“Farthest End” was written by Gilkyson, and is infused with an air of patience. It’s a solo acoustic number with just you and Eliza and the song. The next song was also written by Gilkyson — “Charlie Moore” has a similar delivery, but this time with slow tempo banjo and a story of the son of an Indian trader at the reservation store — about the beloved bluegrass singer.

“Wind River and You” is a hybrid between the earlier songs up to this point.  It starts out hushed, but slowly opens into layers of still hushed instruments and easy, relaxed harmonies.

“Colorado Trail” is another Gilkyson revision of a traditional song which will rock your soul to a soothed state with: “the nights are so lonely when there’s someone left behind.” “At the Foot of the Mountain” is a bright shiny number with a notable depth; this one was co-written with John Gorka.

There are appearances on the album by Warren Hood, Kym Warner, and Michael Hearne.

Score one for Eliza Gilkyson early in 2022. Find tour dates and more information here:  http://elizagilkyson.com

Gilkyson is also a member of the super group Three Women and the Truth with Mary Gauthier and Gretchen Peters.

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