Eliza Gilkyson Hard Times in Babylon (Red House)

Hard Times in Babylon (Red House)

Record Reviews

Eliza Gilkyson

Hard Times in Babylon (Red House)

Following Misfits, her fine, self-released collection of songs from 1999, Eliza Gilkyson underwent some trying times. Her father, folk singer Terry Gilkyson, passed away, a close friend committed suicide, and she went through a difficult relationship breakup. Hard Times in Babylon is a diary of sorts on how she dealt with those painful situations. The disc opens with "Beauty Way," a semi-autobiographical piece on the life of a guitarslinger, then follows with the title track's plea for a friend's return when none is possible. Gilkyson does a fine job of keeping the personal at arm's length, and gives the listener just enough information to fill in the blanks. In doing so, she avoids cliches, succeeding in making music that's highly listenable, with striking melodies and lyrics that demand attention. Songs like "Twisted," "Coast," and "Engineer Bill" find her using a variety of musical backdrops to convey her sense of distress during trying times. Examining love and loss is never easy, yet she finds a way that is both captivating and enlightening. Gilkyson is assisted by some of Austin's top players here. Mark Hallman, who acts with Gilkyson as co-producer, guitarists Mike Hardwick and Matt Andes, bassist Glen Fukunaga, and drummer Rafael Gayol all give her an assist in producing a collection of songs that are striking for both the refined playing as well as the depth of emotion on display.


A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Music Reviews
Review: Large Brush Collection & Creekbed Carter Hogan, <i>Split</i>
Review: Large Brush Collection & Creekbed Carter Hogan, Split
Tape of tender lullabies envisions a warm refuge for queer people

Wayne Lim, May 12, 2023

Texas Platters
Daniel Johnston
Chicago 2017 (Record Review)

Raoul Hernandez, Feb. 21, 2020

More by Jim Caligiuri
Carrie Elkin’s Life-and-Death Folk
Carrie Elkin’s Life-and-Death Folk
Her father's death and daughter's birth upped the stakes of the singer's finest work

April 14, 2017

SXSW Music Live: Richard Barone Presents Greenwich Village in the Sixties
SXSW Music Live: Richard Barone Presents Greenwich Village in the Sixties
Soft Boys, Youngbloods, Moby Grape, Brian Jones’ grandson, etc.

March 18, 2017


Eliza Gilkyson

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle