Eliza Gilkyson

Songs from the River Wind
Eliza Gilkyson
Eliza Gilkyson: Tim Reese.

In contrast to her last few, politically-focused albums, Eliza Gilkyson considers this a “love letter to the Old West.” Revisiting her folk roots through originals, covers, and traditional favorites fits her lineage well – her late dad, singer Terry Gilkyson, was one-third of the ’50s folk trio The Easy Riders and a successful composer in his own right.

While she accompanies her smoky vocals with acoustic and electric guitars, producer/multi-instrumentalist Don Richmond does the heavy lifting, blending acoustic and electric guitars, mandolin, dobro, lap and pedal steel to craft simple-yet-breathtaking accompaniment. He wraps shimmering electric guitars and steel around her voice on the ballad “Farthest End” and the ethereal, romantic “Don’t Stop Lovin’ Me.”

Richmond’s mastery of minimalism results in the eerie backing that complements the haunting lyrics of “Bristlecone Pine.” Mandolin, electric and steel guitars create opulent vistas on “Before the Great River Was Tamed.” For “Buffalo Gals Redux,” her update of a traditional favorite, Richmond creates conventional bluegrass textures. Strategically placed pedal steel and electric guitar brighten the acoustic ensemble on “Colorado Trail.” Gilkyson’s performances benefit every step of the way from Richmond’s less-is-more approach.

This article originally appeared in VG’s April 2022 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.

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