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Eliza Gilkyson

The Nocturne Diaries (Red House)

Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, Fri., April 18, 2014

Texas Platters

Eliza Gilkyson

The Nocturne Diaries (Red House)

"Songs that come in the night are very different than daylight songs," claims Eliza Gilkyson. Except for two covers, the veteran Austin folksinger penned the entirety of The Nocturne Diaries after dark, some of its compositions even forcing her awake to deal with subjects like an adolescent with a gun ("An American Boy") and the biblical flood as a metaphor for current economic and environmental crises ("The Ark"). That's not to say it's all dark or shades of gray. With the help of her co-producer and son Cisco Ryder, Gilkyson offers musical moments as bright as sunlight, the stomping "Eliza Jane" and hopeful closer "All Right Here" foremost among them. Ryder colors his parent's unrepentant singer-songwriter M.O. such that the disc borders at times on the edgy Americana of Lucinda Williams, especially for "No Tomorrow," a stark contemplation on the end of days. The singer also pays tribute to her father Terry, a legendary songsmith in his own right, with a pensive, enveloping reading of his "Fast Freight." Throughout The Nocturne Diaries, Eliza Gilkyson shapes a listen that's singularly thought-provoking.

***

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