Eliza Gilkyson and her son Cisco Ryder co-produced The Nocturne Diaries. Forty-five years after her debut LP, the Austinite, who first moved here in 1981, is delighted to continue handing him the reins to various parts of her career, from road managing to performing in her band.
“It’s been a natural transition,” relates Gilkyson. “We get along really well. I mean, there are times when we don’t agree. We vehemently disagree. Then the best argument has to win. Only a couple of times there’s been an emotional freak-out because we felt so strong about something.
“What I love is he really cares.”
Ryder’s influence makes The Nocturne Diaries a bit edgier, but it seems inherently natural.
“That’s the way he had me build the songs this time,” she explains. “We were in the woodshed a lot and that’s why it took so long. I tried recording the songs a bunch of different ways until I felt it intimate other things and it ended up being really sparse and different than what I’ve done before.”
The album’s title comes from the songs confronting dead-of-night fears both personal and universal, while also offering up moments of hope.
“These were all a-ha moments that I’d had in the middle of the night. A lot of them were processing things that I’m worried about or scared of. At night, you can’t really run away from your thoughts.
“In the day, you can get lost in survival mode or work mode.”
The topics Gilkyson tackles include a troubled teenager with a gun, a family in chaos, and a culture seemingly bent on collapse. The album ends with “All Right Here,” a positive glimmer in the darkness.
“You have to find your joy where you may,” she intones. “You find your blessings and make sure you recognize them. Very often they’re very close to you.”– Jim Caligiuri