Folk singer eliza gilkyson stays true to self, to play in santa barbara

Back in her hippie, trippy days, Eliza and her friend were heading for NorCal after a serious roadtrip from New Mexico, but little did she know that Charles Manson and his many manic misdeeds had upped the fear factor, helping to deal a cruel blow to thumbing it.

After 48 hours of standing around in S.B. with no rides, no clues and no Claudette Colbert on hand to demonstrate the proper technique, Eliza headed back to New Mexico. She will make a more focused and musical visit to Santa Barbara when she plays the Lobero Theatre Saturday night.

This trip is part of her current tour. She seems to come to California at least once a year from her home in the People’s Republic of Austin – a very blue enclave amid a very large, red state. It’s all a thinly veiled effort to sell a few copies of her latest release, "Secularia," just out on Red House Records – her label for the last 18 years.


Gilkyson has 20 albums now, which might amount to many careers for most artists.

The daughter of Terry Gilkyson – an accomplished singer/songwriter best known for the folk classic, "Greenfields," and also the sister of guitar god Tony Gilkyson who played with X and Lone Justice – chances were slight that Eliza would end up as anything but what she is; and that would be a fabulous folkie, a loquacious lefty of lyrical importance.

Gilkyson sings about love and love lousy, and also topical events that are on the minds of thinking people. She was mad at Bush II for destroying the Middle East for no apparent reason and giving us the recession of 2008. A decade later, there is clearly no shortage of material for songwriters. Eliza discussed the latest during a recent phoner.

Well, you know, I think it’s more of a coming out in a way. I think I’ve been sticking these kinds of songs on every record – hiding them – so I thought that I’m at an age maybe where I just feel like I’m a seeker who never finds. So, I’m always looking and asking questions and wondering about those things, and so I thought I’d make a record that just blatantly comes out and admits it.

I never was fully Texan, but I do like being here and I like being in a small city that is fairly benign, so I feel pretty good about being in Austin. It’s not easy living in Texas, and the weather is really odd, but it’s a really very nice community. It’s musical, artsy and friendly.

Yeah, we need to reclaim the moral high ground here and say it out loud, and also say "no" to all of it. Say "no" to a male god. Say "no" to using the Bible to separate parents from their children – that’s what (Jeff) Sessions did – and then actually quoting the Bible in churches, scaring people into thinking we’re the Devil.

Yeah, it’s time to realize that God is not a man. There is a movement afoot, and I think what’s happening is that women are realizing that they have awakened a sleeping giant. The patriarchy is a sleeping giant that we have finally prodded with a big enough stick, and so this is one of the few times when power is showing its true face – its angry face because it’s actually being shook a little bit.

Normally, they just kind of laugh us off. I think there is now a sense of new found threats because women are taking this to a deeper place. I think we’re waking up in a way. We’ve been going along with it. We thought things were changing, and I think in some ways, it’s like the Black Lives Matter movement. Everyone has been thinking, "Oh, hey – everything has gotten so much better," and then you realize, "No, it’s so entrenched." It’s so entrenched so we’re going to a deeper level.

If I had a faster car, a richer girlfriend or even one with a job, here’s where I’ll be lurking in the back this week: TSOL, Bad Samaritans at the Borderline in Thousand Oaks (Oct. 26) Corsican Brothers at Margarita Villa in Ventura (Oct. 26) Medicine Hat at Winchesters in Ventura (Oct. 26) Lenny Goldsmith at Hong Kong Inn in Ventura (Oct. 26) LowDown Brass Band at Deer Lodge in Meiners Oaks (Oct. 26) Gene Evaro at SOhO in Santa Barbara (Oct, 26) Alastair Greene at Figueroa Mountain Brew in WLV (Oct. 27) Hymen Blasters at Sans Souci in Ventura (Oct. 27) Beers Brothers at Hong Kong Inn (Oct. 27) Silence of the Jams at Deer Lodge (Oct. 27) Ball & Sultan at Cold Spring Tavern in Santa Barbara (Oct. 28) Boyd Cannon Big Band at Bogies in WLV (Oct. 30) Morrissey at Ventura Theatre (Oct. 31) Mazzy Star at Ventura Theatre (Nov. 1) Gypsy Blues at Hong Kong Inn (Nov. 1)