Eliza Gilkyson: Beautiful World (Red House/Elite)

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Eliza Gilkyson: Great Correction
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 aggressive cynicism of the porno prostitute on Dream Lover ("I'll do the things your girlfriend won't and make you believe I like it") comes with a rockin' backbeat, stinging steel guitar and a sense of haughty self-awareness.
But it is her astute dealings with contemporary politics, often in canny metaphors as in The Party's Over and the gripping Runaway Train which also grabs attention here. In Great Correction about the shadow across the land she sings "people 'round here don't know what it means to suffer at the hands of our American Dreams" and later "they got their God, they got their guns, got their army and the chosen ones -- but we'll all be burning in the same big sun when the Great Correction comes".
This must have been written before Obama made similar comments about those in the MidWest. Interesting.
So lyrically Gilkyson plays some aces -- but she doesn't lose track of a great melody either. In places she offers the simplicity of early 70s Dylan (John Wesley Harding/If Not For You), crafts delicious folk-framed ballads (He Waits For Me, the wry Unsustainable which sounds torn from the pages of the Great American Songbook For Realists) and the gentle Rare Bird over a soft bassline and organ sounds like a quiet classic to me.
But she still rocks out when required.
So that's 11 very different and memorable tracks: sounds like an album of the old style to me. Highly recommended.

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