edgy lyrics, poetic imagination . . . sultry vocals
er voice rides in on a sigh over waves of notes sliding over steel strings. It's a steely whisper, singing of yearnings and the heart it takes to deal with them. There's a slight twang, hinting at homespun country sensibility. Austin's Eliza Gilkyson is a gifted songwriter and storyteller. Her songs of relationships are stunning in their naked portrayal of her battles with her pain and need ... A tall, elegant woman with blond, spiky hair she exudes intelligence and a breezy sense of humor. Only a man with dulled senses would not feel his heart skip a beat. Beyond the heat of her personal revelations, she possesses a fiery global vision that enables her to light big bonfires under big issues like the current political situation." as extolled by Richard Cuccaro in Acoustic Live! link to the Sept 2004 full bio/review
he daughter of successful songwriter Terry Gilkyson, Eliza is a third generation musician who grew up in Los Angeles knowing that her life would revolve around music. "I got into it for all the wrong reasons, more as a survival tool than anything else, but it proved to serve me more than I dared to imagine." As a teenager, she recorded demos for her dad, who wrote folk music hits Greenfields, Marianne, and Memories Are Made of This, among others. "He would use me in the studio because I had a mature voice at an early age and would work for free," laughs Eliza. Soon after, she was writing and recording her own material as well.
t the end of the sixties, she moved to New Mexico with likeminded souls, eventually raising a family, all the while developing a loyal fan base in the Southwest and Texas. She cut numerous records, including Pilgrims, released in 1987.
fter a period in Europe working with Swiss composer/harpist Andreas Vollenweider, Eliza returned to the United States, releasing Through the Looking Glass in 1996 and Redemption Road in 1997. Eliza started her own label and put out Misfits in 1999, a collection of outtakes that received favorable press as a sound that connected the worlds of folk and modern storytelling. In 2000, Eliza released her first album on the Red House Records label, Hard Times in Babylon. The album was a critical success and was followed quickly by more acclaim for her second recording with them, Lost and Found.
liza has appeared several times on NPR's All Things Considered, recently played Austin City Limits, and in February of 2003 she was inducted into the Austin Music Hall of Fame, alongside such luminaries as Willie Nelson, Townes Van Zandt, Nancy Griffith, and others. Eliza recorded Land of Milk and Honey in 2004, a recording decidedly more sociopolitical in theme that was nominated for a Grammy. Her most recent CD is Paradise Hotel which has already made DJ Top Ten lists all over the US and Europe.
Praises for her performances:
Link to her music clips: or her web site:
Opening for Eliza Gilkyson tonight were our featured open mike performers:
Our host this evening was Ira Perlman.