Basic Folk 148 – Eliza Gilkyson

Eliza Gilkyson is a middle child, a constant reinventor of herself and a surprise teacher of songwriting. Her father, the acclaimed folk singer/songwriter Terry Gilkyson, moved his family to California in the late 1940’s to pursue a career in folk music. He found success with his group The Easy Riders and as a staff songwriter for Disney. He wrote songs for animated films and most famously “Bear Necessities” from The Jungle Book, which earned him an Oscar nomination. Terry greatly influenced Eliza’s style with a love of melody, natural talent and visceral writing. Young Eliza spent time in the southwestern US soaking in the sounds of “western folk.” That sound encompasses her new album Songs From the River Wind (out on Jan 14, 2022). She’s spent many years going back and forth from New Mexico to California, to Austin, Texas and back to New Mexico again. The pandemic and settling into her third act put a lot of things into perspective, including officially moving 100% to her beloved Taos, New Mexico.

The new album is not political, which is unusual for Eliza, who’s been known to write pointed political scorchers on her records. Lots of these songs and sounds are encompassing a time gone by featuring moments of joy and beauty. The sounds of the album completely encapsulate her dad’s trademark style, led by Taos band The ‘Rifters, who accompany Eliza this time around. Eliza’s embarking on another new reinvention of herself, which she has been known to do over the course of her amazing life. Most famously, at 50 years old around the year 2000, Gilkyson reclaimed the identity of “folk singer” and released her career-affirming and changing album Hard Times in Babylon. That record unlocked her writing and set her on a path of authentic creation in her music and she has not looked back. Here’s to constant reinvention! 

Eliza Gilkyson on Spotify

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