Eliza Gilkyson is a twice Grammy-nominated (2006/2014) singer-songwriter and activist who is one of the most respected musicians in Folk, Roots and Americana circles. Her songs have been covered by Joan Baez, Bob Geldof, The Conspirare Choir, Tom Rush and Rosanne Cash and have appeared in films, PBS specials and on primetime TV. A member of the Austin Music Hall of Fame, and an inductee into the Austin Songwriter Hall of Fame, she has won countless Folk Alliance and Austin Music awards, including 2014’s Songwriter of the Year and the “Song of the Year” Award at the Folk Alliance International Conference in 2021.
Eliza's June 23rd release,"Home", co-produced with multi-instrumentalist Don Richmond for Realiza Records, offers more of the intimate, challenging and insightful songs for which she is known, and features a wide range of material that reflect her appreciation for family, home and hearth in a time when those things have become essential to maintain sanity and decency.
Cameos include a gorgeous duet with Robert Earl Keen, “How Deep”, that asks some of life’s important questions, and a sweet duet with longtime friend Mary Chapin Carpenter, “Sparrow”, on the appreciation a songwriter feels for fans and friends who inspire the songs into being.
Other standout tracks include the upbeat and hopeful “World Keeps on Singing”, the stripped down love song, “Witness” featuring her guitarist brother Tony Gilkyson (X, Lone Justice, Chuck E. Weiss) on soulful electric guitar, the Ukrainian mother’s wish for normalcy and safety in the harmony-laden “Sunflowers”, the gospel tinged “Safety Zone”, and the epic storytelling ballad “Man in the Bottle” about her hit-songwriting father, Terry Gilkyson (“Bare Necessities”), featuring snippets of his songs and played by the Southwest’s beloved Western dance band, The Rifters, and longtime family friend Van Dyke Parks, who played in an early incarnation of her dad’s band “The Easy Riders” when he was just a teenager.
The title track “Home”, written by Karla Bonoff, reflects the ways that home can be a sanctuary in the most difficult times, and wraps up this ten song collection that gives us another glimpse into Eliza Gilkyson's unique perspective on these critical times to which her music bears witness.
Eliza says, "The pandemic changed our lives and our world forever, illuminating the sanctity of home and hearth, of trusted friendships and family, and a new deeper appreciation for the many little blessings we may have taken for granted before this cataclysmic shift occurred. It has been a time of terrible loss and insecurity about the future, as well as one of newfound resolve, connection and commitment. These songs were born out of all these conflicting forces coming into play while trying to find the balance.”
ABOUT ELIZA GILKYSON: Eliza is a twice Grammy-nominated (2006/2015) singer-songwriter and activist who is one of the most respected musicians in Folk, Roots and Americana circles. Her songs have been covered by Joan Baez, Bob Geldof, The Conspirare Choir, Tom Rush and Rosanne Cash and have appeared in films, PBS specials and on prime-time TV.
A member of the Austin Music Hall of Fame, and an inductee into the Austin Songwriter Hall of Fame, she has won countless Folk Alliance and Austin Music awards, including 2014’s Songwriter of the Year. Her critically acclaimed political masterpiece, 2020, topped the folk radio charts and won Eliza the “Best Song of the Year” award from the Folk International Alliance. She followed that with a move from Austin, TX to Taos, New Mexico which inspired her 2022 Western-themed album, Songs From the River Wind, holding in the Top 10 of the folk radio charts for eight months. The album was inspired by her father, celebrated folksinger Terry Gilkyson, and his 50s folk trio The Easy Riders, with the songs spanning four decades.
I was commissioned by the Grammy Award winning choirmaster, Craig Hella Johnson to write a song for his Conspirare Choir. This is what came of that request-a list of all the things that sentient humans wish for in a wartorn environment: children playing, weddings, growing food, enough time to experience the simple pleasures of living…and fields of sunflowers. Initially Craig had wanted me to write something loosely based in the Beethoven Quartets in A min, which was way outside my wheelhouse! But after many listens I found that the First Movement had a chord progression in it that got me started down the trail of a song, but of course with me everything turns into a folk song sooner or later! And, as we now find ourselves debating whether we should protect the sovereignty of a nation cruelly and illegally invaded, this song needed to be directed towards the Ukrainian people in a show of solidarity.
Photo Credits: (1)-(2) Eliza Gilkyson (unknown/website).