Eliza Gilkyson

Land of Milk and Honey (Red House)

SXSW Records

Eliza Gilkyson

Land of Milk and Honey (Red House) It's understatement to suggest that Eliza Gilkyson is merely on a roll; everything she's ever written or recorded was to this end. The Austin singer-songwriter's last two albums, Lost and Found and Hard Times in Babylon, were such wonderfully realized efforts that they stand as crowning achievements in her career, much like her induction into the Texas Music Hall of Fame last year. Despite its bucolic title, Land of Milk and Honey, Gilkyson's latest gives no quarter with songs as excellent as they are raw and brutal. Her gift is the ability to mask razor-sharp words in deceptively easy melodies and make the expression of personal longing just as devastating. Like all good folksingers, Gilkyson's material is patchwork, worn velvet squares of songs like "Tender Mercies" and "Wonderland," something old in "Runnin Away," and something new in "Hiway 9." Producer Mark Hallman coaxes the fine colors of "Not Lonely" and the pain of "Separated" with a master's touch. Woody Guthrie's unrecorded "Peace Call," meanwhile, features Iris DeMent, Mary Chapin Carpenter, and Patty Griffin, four fabulous voices joined in harmony. These are songs that speak in a universal language, yet are layered in meaning: "Ballad of Yvonne Johnson" pulsates with a terrible truth, while "Milk and Honey" resonates like a prayer, and "Dark Side of Town" pays homage to her sister's lost love, Big Al Ragle. It's the sort of close-to-home bond Gilkyson seals with her family, from her songwriter father and her brother Tony (of X) to her grandson Cisco Ryder, who accompanies her on Land of Milk and Honey, a tribute to not just talent but the family of man. (Thursday, March 18, 11pm @ Cactus Cafe)

****

Keep up with all our SXSW coverage at austinchronicle.com/sxsw. Sign up for our South By-specific newsletter at austinchronicle.com/newsletters for news, reviews, and previews delivered to your inbox every day of the Fest. And for the latest tweets, follow @ChronSXSW.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 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  

READ MORE
Wednesday Interview
Wednesday Interview
Delta Spirit

Jim Caligiuri, March 20, 2015

Wednesday Picks & Sleepers
Wednesday Picks & Sleepers
First night SXSW Music recommendations and hints

March 20, 2015

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
Bruce Robison & Kelly Willis
Beautiful Lie (Record Review)

Doug Freeman, July 5, 2019

Texas Platters
Gary Nicholson / Whitey Johnson
The Great Divide, More Days Like This (Record Review)

Tim Stegall, July 5, 2019

More by Margaret Moser
Did I Know Bruce Springsteen Was Going to Play 2012?
Did I Know Bruce Springsteen Was Going to Play 2012?

March 3, 2017

Adult Audio Coloring Book Sampler
Adult Audio Coloring Book Sampler
A look back at illustrated album covers old and new

July 29, 2016

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Eliza Gilkyson

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
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

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

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