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Eliza Gilkyson’s latest release “Songs from the River Wind” is what she calls her “love letter to the Old West”-snapshots of the people and places, lives and loves lost and found over her years of wandering the West as a musical minstrel searching for her heart’s home.
Feeling the need to take a little break from the socio-political music she felt compelled to write for her last 6 releases, including her critically acclaimed political masterpiece "2020", and concurrent with the hair-raising 2020 election cycle and the haphazard handling of COVID19 in Texas, the twice Grammy-nominated artist moved her base from Austin to Taos and gathered together this collection of songs written over the past 40 years that chronicle her travels and memories of characters and events that birthed her enduring love affair with the West, culminating in her recent decision to relocate permanently to Taos, where she is sinking down deep roots at long last.
With a nod to her dad, folksinger Terry Gilkyson and his folk group “The Easy Riders”, who recorded original and traditional folk songs in the 50's with a distinctive western flavor, Eliza has joined forces with her old friend Don Richmond to produce the record as well as enlisting Don’s much loved Southwest band “the Rifters” to sing backup harmonies. “The ‘Rifters’ are like the twenty-first century version of the ‘Easy Riders’…my dad would have loved them, and to have them sing and play on this record with me is icing on the cake…it’s all part of bringing these disparate parts of myself together and bringing my past into my present as a songwriter and as a whole person. It has been a fruitful adventure for me.”
With cameos from Warren Hood on fiddle, Kym Warner on mandolin, and Michael Hearne on vocals, some old and new originals, some covers that fit the theme, and a few adaptations of several venerable old cowboy tunes, Don and Eliza went for the kind of Western/Folk sound that highlights her love of storytelling and true blue characters, her love of the rivers and the mountains, and her joyful return to the high desert plateau “at the foot of the Mountain” she now calls home.
“The Irish poet George Moore said ‘a man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it.’ The same can be said for this woman, a wanderer who loved the road and the music life but who was always hoping to find her true home in the world. This record is the story of that quest, the lives and loves, the people and places in her beloved West, and the river of longing that brought her to the place where she could finally rest her bones and feel with certainty that she was home.”