Eliza Gilkyson “Home”

Realiza Records, 2023

Eliza Gilkyson more than gets by with a little help from her friends.

For her latest release, Eliza Gilkyson has used the pandemic to reflect on those simple pleasures that we tend to take for granted, the sanctity of home and the value of friends and family. In her own words, “When I decided to call the record “Home” I immediately thought of this old Karla Bonoff song, always one that I had held in the back of my mind to record someday. It so perfectly describes the feeling and the longing for home for a wandering troubadour, the sanctuary where we can be ourselves and at peace, and a luxury today not everyone gets to experience.”

If the title track, which closes the album, sums up what she was aiming for with the album, it is on ‘Sunflowers’ that this message truly hits home. Imagining a Ukrainian mother’s wish for normalcy in a time of upheaval and horror, Gilkyson envisions the wish for the simple pleasures of living – children playing, talking with neighbours, weddings, growing food, fields of sunflowers, and, most of all, the time to enjoy these pleasures. It is a beautifully sung track and a particularly poignant reminder of the importance of continuing to show solidarity with that country.

The album features a number of collaborations; Mary Chapin Carpenter features on ‘Sparrow’, an appreciation of the affection songwriters feel for their fans and friends who inspire their songs into life. ‘How Deep’ has Robert Earl Keen duetting with Gilkyson on another gloriously realised song filled with the questions we ask ourselves as we face mortality, shifting our perspective on what is truly of value within the span of a single life – “Did I let my tears fall at the wonder of it all, but most of all how deep did I love.”

Man In The Bottle’ takes collaboration to the extreme. A tribute to her late father, songwriter Terry Gilkyson, the song incorporates snippets of Terry’s songs into a wider story about him from the perspective of a child grown to adulthood looking back. So, at various stages in this 6-minute mini storytelling epic musicians from her dad’s day including The Rifters, Van Dyke Parks and John Egenes all feature. It is both ambitious and a mark of the respect that the Gilkyson name holds in musical circles.

One final shout out for the gospel-tinged ‘Safety Zone’, a glorious track with a brainworm of a chorus and riff. The album is a typical Eliza Gilkyson delight with her sublime vocals combining to great effect with multi-instrumentalist and co-producer Don Richmond.


About Peter Churchill 165 Articles
Lover of intelligent singer-songwriters; a little bit country; a little bit folk; a little bit Americana. Devotee of the 'small is beautiful' school of thought when it comes to music venues.
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