Eliza Gilkyson Misfits (Realiza)
Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, Fri., Dec. 3, 1999
Misfits (Realiza)Eliza Gilkyson's career has taken many twists and turns over the better part of three decades. She began as a teenager performing folk music while living in New Mexico and worked her way to a stint as an atmospheric, New Age artist in the early Nineties touring and recording with Andreas Vollenweider. The past few years have found her living in Austin, where she's worked for a couple of different labels and released CDs of folk based tunes that rocked a bit and were a good gauge of her substantial songwriting prowess. Misfits, then, is something else completely. Gilkyson sounds as strong and confident as she ever has; Realiza is her own label, and she produced the album herself. Empowered to make her music, her way, she positively delights in it and comes up with an admirable collection of songs that hang together well and form an energizing whole even though they were recorded over the course of six years. This is made possible by noteworthy assistance from the Andes brothers, steel guitarist Matt and bassist Mark, Eliza's brother Tony Gilkyson, who adds some distinctive guitar work, and his bandmate from X, drummer D.J. Bonebrake. Also appearing is Laurie Lewis, providing sweet fiddle on "Last Big Thrill," where Gilkyson ponders death while reveling in life, and John Doe, who joins Gilkyson for a raging duet on Dylan's "Chimes of Freedom." Stylistically, she covers an impressive amount of ground, from the tropical flavor of "Beautiful Dreamer" to lilting country folk on "Bad Boy/Good Man" to the Indian raga rock of "Hollywood Years." Misfits is filled with personal stories and striking melodies, all conveyed with an uncommon amount of magic from a woman, who, after years of searching, has found her voice.