Eliza Gilkyson- Roses at the End of Time   1 comment

Eliza Gilkyson Roses at the End of Time Red House Records

I fell for Eliza Gilkyson’s voice, music, and outlook some years ago shortly after really hearing her for the first time. Land of Milk and Honey was an album I became absolutely enamoured with and I continue to consider “The Ballad of Yvonne Johnson” (while having little to no sympathy for the woman who participated in the murder of and committed indignities to another human) one of the great songs of the last decade. Hearing her perform and seeing her participate in a dance circle at the Edmonton Folk Music Festival some years later cemented my opinion. She’s magic.

She writes about the most wonderful stuff, some of which is distinctly unpleasant. “Death in Arkansas” is the album’s only non-original and comes from her brother Tony. (BTW, the previous sentence marks the first time Tony Gilkyson has been mentioned without reference to Lone Justice. Damn!) Without gruesomeness, the soul of the departed reflects on the changes that have occurred in the decades since his death; over acoustic backing of guitar, bass, fiddle, and banjo, Gilkyson sings the evocative lines, “And the lone dogs howled and the crows would caw, When there was a death in Arkansas.”

“Blue Moon Night” sets the tone for the album, establishing a mood that is both ethereal and substantial. The instrumentation haunts while Gilkyson’s voice sways and calls; on this single number, one is reminded of Jane Siberry at her focused best. The title track- either about the death of a partner or an enduring love, and perhaps those thoughts aren’t mutually exclusive- is beautifully sung and played; the song is plainly arranged and Gilkyson’s voice conveys the emotions of a life lived with love.

Gilkyson, as she does always, covers a lot of ground during Roses at the End of Time’s forty-seven minutes. She offers more than a nod to those appreciating her gifts in the light-sounding “Looking for a Place” and recognizes the struggles and hopes for those who illegally migrate in search of a better life in the beautiful-sounding “Vayan al Norte.” She pays more than passing notice to Townes Van Zandt in “Midnight on Raton,” capturing similar hopes and loneliness as he did on “Snow on Raton.” And as one doomsday passes as I write these words on May 21, 2011, Gilkyson imagines another coming in “2153” as the humans of the future “bought and they fought and they twittered.”

I’m sure Roses at the End of Time will be as valued to those who discover it as Land of Milk and Honey, Paradise Hotel, and Beautiful World are to me.

Thanks for spending time at Fervor Coulee. Donald


One response to “Eliza Gilkyson- Roses at the End of Time

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  1. I agree, Roses at the End of Time is a great album. I mention it in my latest blog.

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