Eliza Gilkyson – Home (ENG review)

Americana, Folk
Eliza Gilkyson – Home

There are a number of folk music artists that we particularly appreciate on Bayou Blue Radio, such as Shawn Colvin, Gretchen Peters, Mary Chapin Carpenter, among others, and of course Eliza Gilkyson, whom you regularly hear on Bayou Blue Radio. Besides their particularly well-mastered voices, the compositions, arrangements, and themes of their albums make us resonate, and let’s admit it, we have never been disappointed.
Eliza explains on her website: “Home” is a collection of songs written during the pandemic that reflect her appreciation for her new found home in Taos, New Mexico, as well as her expanded view of what home can be for so many of us: “a sanctuary where our love abides within us and without us.” Featuring duets with friends Mary Chapin Carpenter and Robert Earl Keen, as well as the intimate, challenging, and insightful songs for which she is known, “Home” offers another glimpse into Gilkyson’s unique perspective on the times and the world we live in. That’s what we know so far; now it’s time to embrace this album that filled my heart with joy from the very first track, “True North.”
Clearly, Taos has greatly inspired Eliza, and there is a sense of joy and liberation in both the lyrics and the music, to the point where you can feel the warmth that settles on “Sunflower,” a track through which Eliza conveys her emotion and subtle poetry, once again showcasing the beauty of her songwriting. The following track, “Safety Zone,” is of the same nature. This is an album that captivates from the first listen, and the duets are particularly addictive due to the vocal qualities of the artists, starting with Robert Earl Keen on “How Deep,” Mary Chapin Carpenter on “Sparrow,” Rod Taylor on “A Man In The Bottle,” and Jim Bradley on “World Keeps On Signing.”
I must admit I have listened to the track “Sparrow,” the duet between Eliza Gilkyson and Mary Chapin Carpenter, several times in a row. I have rarely heard duets that work so well, with blended musical universes that manage to make you feel the pleasure they had in recording this track.
Recorded between Los Angeles, Taos, Sierra Madre, Austin TX, Buda, and Springfield, one can imagine the very high audio quality of this album, both in terms of vocals and instruments. Everything has been done with finesse and subtlety, and undoubtedly the years of experience count for a lot.
The title “Home” refers, of course, to her home in Taos, apparently a place of peace, tranquility, and love. In fact, that’s what permeates this album and what led the editorial teams of Bayou Blue Radio and Paris-Move to consider it an “essential” album.

Thierry De Clemensat
USA correspondent – Paris-Move
Editor in chief Bayou Blue Radio, Bayou Blue News

Ilene’s notes:
I have been looking forward to Eliza Gilkyson’s new album, “Home,” very much for my own personal reasons. Some of my ancestors hailed from this part of the world, including the Taos Pueblo, and I now live in the bustling city of Austin that Gilkyson used to call home, so naturally I have been very curious to hear how Taos may have inspired her, and perhaps colored some of her viewpoints, especially during a global pandemic.
As always, her melodies are sweet and languid, her poetry spot-on, and true to so many thoughts we all had during the pandemic:
My favorite song is quite possibly the achingly beautiful “Sunflowers,” utopian in the best of ways that Gilkyson knows how to express, with a longing for the simple happiness that a peaceful life has to offer.
The “Keeps on Singing,” World is a true pandemic ballad, where we are encouraged to “Drive on through your sorrow” while “the world keeps on singing.”
“Safety Zone” and “Here Comes the Night” are rousing, socially-progressive gospels, also a Gilkyson specialty. “The devil loves his scripture”, oh how we know… but with hope of a reborn world, because she reminds us that it’s always darkest before the dawn.
My favorite line from this album is quite possibly from “True North:” “When I look into your eyes, my compass still runs true, And I only know that my future lies, My future lies on the road I walk with you.” I could say the same about Thierry and I.
“Man in the Bottle” is a long-planned tribute to her father, Terry Gilkyson, layering melody upon melody into the universe that was their relationship. Speaking of papas, kudos for the sweet cover image, so much like the house where my own Papa grew up, in Alamosa.
Yes, in conclusion, I quite like the Taos Eliza – brava, my sister in song, on another masterpiece.

Ilene Martinez
CEO Bayou Blue Radio

PARIS-MOVE, July 15th 2023


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