Opening with the modest, by her high standards and ‘Blue Moon Night’ Eliza soon kicks off her shoes as spark enough to start a prairie fire is found on the sublime, fiddle and banjo escorted ‘Death In Arkansas’. Written by her brother, singer-songwriter, guitarist Tony Gilkyson it deals with environmental issues and how man has headlong developed and changed the world’s natural beauty to suit his own needs (and in many cases greedy desire). Its wondrous lyrics combined with a fabulous shuffle see Eliza who sounds as good as ever are coupled with those of fellow recording acts John Gorka and Lucy Kaplansky it sounds perfect in every way. We aren’t finished there either. So good is the old time ambiance as the playing of Rich Brotherton (banjo), Warren Hood (banjo), Chris Maresh (upright bass) and Eliza’s acoustic guitar generate a feel as rich farmland dirt. If Tony has written a better song I have got to hear it! The words gem, classic and timeless all come to mind as I search for words to describe my appreciation of a song I can't get to hear too often!
‘Roses At The End Of Time’ is a stunning affair set to hook you line and sinker. Eliza is also in top form on ‘2153’ (a superb offering possessing an infectious lilt) and ‘Midnight On Raton’ that respectively hit the spot. The latter speaks of the man who wrote the song ‘Snows Of Raton’, Townes Van Zandt. Gliding, effortlessly, Eliza weaves a beautiful tapestry like only she can. Boy, it doesn’t get much better than this as Eliza, Hardwick (electric guitar), her son, Cisco —who produced the record, drums and Chris Maresh, upright bass combine. Townes could well right now be giving a wry smile as he hears her sing her wondrous, descriptive ode as he simultaneously, savours a glass of choice bourdon and ice.
Unashamedly, Eliza veers away from folk country to pop to just as quickly drop back into her usual groove. As she tenders such striking affairs as ‘Looking For A Place’; featuring splendid electric and slide guitar (Hardwick) and Cisco on drums —it kicks back strongly. On the subject of kicking back the political ‘Slouching Towards Bethlehem’, ‘Once I Had A Home’ and ‘Vayan al Norte’ are all timely reminders that we in the make up of the god’s plans and could if willing aid others more. The latter speaks of the poor Mexican community and of their constant struggle to make a living in a land not their own; as shades of the Woody Guthrie classic ‘Deportee (Plane Wreck At Los Gatos)’ rear most splendidly.
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