eliza gilkyson

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Patty Griffin: Children Running Through (Shock)

Patty Griffin: Children Running Through (Shock)

Exceptional. Griffin defies convenient categories: she can convincingly deliver an ethereal ballad, persuasive soul-funk like a Boho Beat, intense country with Emmylou Harris, abrasive and sneering rock which is as vengeful and as score-settling about a former lover as Dylan's Positively 4th Street . . . And those are just the first four...

Karen Hunter: Rubble (Monkey)

Karen Hunter: Rubble (Monkey)

The guy who wrote the liner notes for this long overdue album by Auckland singer-songwriter Hunter -- it was me actually -- says he can well remember the first time he saw her perform: it was over 15 years ago and she stood so far outside the self-proscribed parameters that most musicians put on themselves you couldn't help but be stunned....

Delgirl: two, maybe three, days ride (Yellow Eye)

Delgirl: two, maybe three, days ride (Yellow Eye)

This Dunedin-based, folk-country three-piece of Deidre Newall, Erin Morton and Lynn Vare impressed with an earlier EP Live at the Wunderbar which hinted at something special, but wasn't quite strong enough to be placed on Elsewhere. But that promise has come with this album of close harmony, suggestions of alt.country and Polynesia,...

Eilen Jewell: Letters from Sinners and Strangers (Signature)

Eilen Jewell: Letters from Sinners and Strangers (Signature)

This singer-songwriter from Idaho (originally, then LA and latterly Massachusetts) will be deluding herself if she thinks that no one will say "early Lucinda Williams" when they hear the track In the End here: the same world-weary, vowel dragging delivery . . . But Jewell has much more going for her than that comparison: with a...

Caroline Herring, Lantana (Signature)

Caroline Herring, Lantana (Signature)

To my embarrassment I admit to never having heard of this alt.country singer-songwriter, now onto (I think) her third album. Apparently she won the best new artist award at Austin's South X Southwest Festival in 2002 and I imagine she has picked a few awards and many fans since. She's won me with this one, her pure Baez-like vocals, the...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: Emmylou Harris: All I Intended To Be (Warners)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: Emmylou Harris: All I Intended To Be (Warners)

The crystalline quality of Emmylou Harris' voice is often so admired that people can look past that she is also a great interpreter of a lyric and has effortlessly brought traditional or familiar songs together with her originals.This time out she calls on kindred spirits (the McGarrigle sisters, Mike Auldridge, Buddy Miller) with her band which...

Krista Polvere: Here Be Dragons (Inertia)

Krista Polvere: Here Be Dragons (Inertia)

This Adelaide singer-songwriter may sound a little weak in a couple of places here but that hasn't stopped some high-power friends lining up in a New York studio to help out on these delicate and somewhat stately alt.country songs: Ryan Adams (who co-wrote Let's Go), cellist Jane Scarpantoni, Adam Snyder and Grasshopper from Mercury Rev, and...

Eliza Gilkyson: Beautiful World (Red House/Elite)

Eliza Gilkyson: Beautiful World (Red House/Elite)

Given the tone of some of the 11 songs here -- political disillution, desperate love, a song called The Party's Over and one about the inevitability of the Great Correction -- you'd have to assume the album title is slightly ironic.Yet this Austin-based singer-songwriter never dips into the dark without leaving room for light, and even the...

Delgirl: Porchlight (Yellow Eye)

Delgirl: Porchlight (Yellow Eye)

This trio from Dunedin impressed on their debut album two, maybe three, days ride which saw them nominated for a Tui award and, as I noted at that time, it was a real step up from their first EP. This even better album -- 15 tracks -- confirms what I have always believed, the more you work (ie play, perform and record) the chances are the...

Caroline Herring: Golden Apples of the Sun (Ode)

Caroline Herring: Golden Apples of the Sun (Ode)

The previous album by this Atlanta-based singer-songwriter, Lantana of last year, was a revelation: her crystalline vocals conjured up the purity of Joan Baez but her sometimes dark subject matter took her into that emotionally unsettling area where the likes of Gillian Welch, Lucinda Williams and Eilen Jewell sometimes set up shop. The...

Rickie Lee Jones: Balm in Gilead (Universal)

Rickie Lee Jones: Balm in Gilead (Universal)

Ms Jones has slipped so far down the totem pole of public attention in the past decade that her last album -- the ambitious Sermon on Exposition Boulevard of 2007 in which she meditated on Jesus and other things -- went straight past most. Jones works her own territory: one part jazz, a nod to pop, sometimes soulful or almost spoken word, and...

Buddy Miller: The Majestic Silver Strings (New West)

Buddy Miller: The Majestic Silver Strings (New West)

Although a supergroup of guitarists is at the core here -- the great Miller (of Emmylou Harris' band and  Robert Plant's Band of Joy among others) brings on board Marc Ribot, Bill Frisell and Greg Leisz whose names are on albums by Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, Willie Nelson, many alt and straight country acts as well as ECM jazz albums -- the...

Michelle Nadia: Firefly (Ode)

Michelle Nadia: Firefly (Ode)

This fine New Zealand singer-songwriter isn't one to hang around obviously. She's already played in the UK and the States, and of course in Australia where she attended the Australian Institute of Music for her vocal studies. As a songwriter she has a light touch (song titles like Firefly, Ache For Beauty and Lost in You might tell you as...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Tiny Ruins: Some Were Meant for Sea (Spunk)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Tiny Ruins: Some Were Meant for Sea (Spunk)

Tiny Ruins is the nom de disque of Bristol-born, Auckland-raised (from the age of 10) singer-songwriter Hollie Fullbrook who recorded these songs in "a diminutive [sic] hall, once the local school of South Gippsland's Morraya, Australia" (which doesn't appear on any map of that region south east of Melbourne that I can see, unless they...

Reb Fountain: Like Water (Fountain/Elite)

Reb Fountain: Like Water (Fountain/Elite)

Recorded in Christchurch, Vancouver, LA, Texas and Auckland (whew), this impressive debut announces yet another major New Zealand singer-songwriting talent. Yes, in a couple of the gentle ballad tracks she does sound a little like Bic Runga (is that a bad thing?) but she also gets behind some gutsy, pop-rock guitar jangle, in other places has...

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