Some great talents manage to operate for years just below the radar of the star-making machinery of the popular song. Eliza Gilkyson is a case in point. Lost and Found is her second album on Red House Records, and her seventh album since ’87. Originally from Los Angeles, and daughter of songwriter Terry Gilkyson, Eliza has spent much of her adult life in New Mexico. The songs here show the influence of long, dark desert nights and hot, bright southwestern days. The lead song, “Welcome Back,” begins a theme of reemergence and growth and that threads throughout the album. If you need a thinking person’s mood booster, this CD will fill the bill nicely.
You’ll find catchy songs with intelligent lyrics, and some fine pickin’. Aided by Andrew Hardin, Tony Gilkyson, and Rich Brotherton on guitars, Glen Fukunga on bass, Jeff Plnkenhorn and Gurf Molix on slide guitars, Lloyd Maines on lapsteel, Micheal Ramos on organ, Wally Doggett on drums, and Patty Griffin, Mark Hallman, and Slaid Cleaves on background vocals, Gilkyson includes some fine instrumental solos in her spare arrangements.
But the principal solo instrument on Lost and Found is Gilkyson’s voice. Both breathy and powerful, Gilkyson’s vocal machinery can take you anywhere she wants you to go. From the unfettered joy of “Mamas’s Got A Boyfriend” to the moody “Easy Rider,” the emotional intimacy of Gilkyson’s voice delivers her songs directly to your heart.
Engineer and co-producer Mark Hallman obviously knows how to get a rich, warm, and intimate sound out of Congress House Studios. Even on the densest mixes, Lost and Found has a clear but texturally complex timbre. In short, it sounds super.
Even though Eliza Gilkyson has spent most of her musical career skirting the hurley-burley of the pop showbiz buzzmeisters, this album should bring her to the attention of the people who matter – you and me.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s July ’02 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.