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NEW ALBUM: Eliza Gilkyson - Secularia
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ELIZA GILKYSON - Secularia

[Image: MI0004455122.jpg?partner=allrovi.com]

I’m ashamed to say I know diddly about Eliza Gilkyson (who, if this is anything to go by, deserves much more acknowledgment) but there’s no mistaking the evidence of a craft finely honed, and from the first couple of minutes in, you just know you’re in safe and competent hands. Lilting and alluring, she spins her web of somewhat edgy folk/Americana with the confidence and skill that only time and experience endows. Her songs are well wrought, both lyrically and musically, each and every one quite able to stand on its own, and filled to capacity with imagery. It’s a crazy thought, but to me it’s as though there’s a halo of light in some music – a clarity, almost as though the intention behind the sound somehow shows up in the final product – a captivating and intangible element. 
 
Secularia is an interesting choice of title, i.e. stuff of the world, temporal, decidedly of this earth, and seems to imply the opposite of everything associated with the word hymnal, which in fact is a more than apt descriptor for some of these songs; maybe it’s meant as an embracing, or acknowledgment of everything we have in common as human beings on a non-spiritual plane. Or maybe that's overthinking it, which is more than likely!  
 
She calls to mind Joni Mitchell now and then, Emmylou, Linda Ronstadt, Abigail Washburn and oddly, Grant Lee Phillips and Jason Isbell for whom in some places, as a ‘sounds like, or similar to’, she might be a female counterpart, except that despite the fact that the sound of her voice belies her age, she could be the latter’s mother!! Okay, perhaps that's a bit of a stretch - the 'sounds like' part, but those were the other voices that popped up for me. Beautiful instruments and arrangements (hers) all the way through, specifically violin, viola, cello, mandolin and pedal steel guitar, which really shines, thanks to Mike Hardwick. Gilkyson herself plays both acoustic and electric guitars, keys and piano. There are additional vocals and harmonies on some tracks, by her son Cisco Ryder (also producer), Shawn Colvin, Pastor Sam Butler on the gospel tinged “Sanctuary” and a few more.
 
I think I love this – it’s going on my buy list for sure. Favourite tracks at this point would be “Seculare” which was co-written with Mark Andes, who used to play bass for Spirit, “Reunion” which is just lovely, and “Instrument”, ditto. No clips of those available on YT just yet. Fortunately, the opening track IS though -
 
“Solitary Singer” is a poem written by her grandmother that she set to music …



"The surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that it has never tried to contact us." ~ Bill Watterson
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