Hard Times In Babylon
Red House Records
A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
I was lucky to be in Austin in March 1999, (as the featured poet in the Austin International Poetry Festival), having the time of my life listening to more singer-songwriters than I ever had before. I guess the stars were with me back then: One of those stars was Eliza Gilkyson, who performed at the Cactus Cafe with Cliff Eberhardt and Jimmy Lafave. (Now, if I only had a tape...). |
There was this woman in her early forties, singing with her high voice, and chilling the audience as if it were the first time she had ever sung there, or the first time anyone had ever heard her. When I first listened to her cd, Hard Times in Babylon, I wondered why the songs sounded so familiar, until I realized I remembered many of them from that special evening in Austin. Gilkyson's songs are immediately catchy, without in any way being the commercial stuff they try to sell us as music these days.
Gilkyson stands somewhere between Chrissie Hynde and Enya, and takes the best of both worlds, new age and rock. She is still a folkie at heart and writes deep songs with unforgettable lines, like:
Many of the songs in this great album deal with loss, and the holes left in us by people who leave us. The production is very clear and very good, and although the promo sheets says this is a minimal production, I still wish there was less. Most of the time I longed for the stripped down versions with vocals and guitar that she sang at the Cactus Cafe in Austin. But then, this is a cd I can listen to again and again, while great memories can change and improve with time. And that is what this cd is about.
A winner. And the best female folk cd of the year.