Eliza Gilkyson performs Saturday

Concert spotlights light and dark of life

Well-known folk singer anticipates fun with Canadian audience

Exploring the light and dark of life hits the spotlight as politically minded, poetically gifted, singer-songwriter Eliza Gilkyson returns to Vancouver Island for a concert in Oak Bay.

Since she started visiting a decade ago with her first Island gig, the Comox Folk Festival, she quickly developed a fan base, returning to the Comox Valley with forays into Victoria for its now defunct Folk Festival.

“I became utterly enamoured with that island,” she said. “I love the climate, the communities and the music scene is really cool. So I’m just following through with my ongoing commitment with that part of the world.”

Set to start off on yet another tour, she spoke to the News by phone from Texas where everyone’s happy at the “best year ever” where temperatures sat in the mid-90-degrees (farenheit of course).

“It’s a great summer. We haven’t cracked 100F,” she said.

When Gilkyson makes her Island return in this month, it’s the political and meteorological climate that appeals.

“I think in general, Canadian audiences have always been really fun for me because I do some socio-political music,” she said. “I was really down here right after 9/11. Anti war music was not appreciated. In Canada, I remember thinking, ‘these people are really supportive. … They like to laugh and have fun. These people really can go the mile with me.’ I feel very much understood and supported.”

The long-standing tradition of Canadian folk music – she’s a fan of the likes of Joni Mitchell and Bruce Cockburn who are now also friends – that strengthen her ties to the northern audience.

“Then you have people like Stan Rogers who were writing really, really, I think folk music for the 21st century,” she said. “Because I come from a long line of folk singers myself, I respect that tradition. I love the idea of making folk music current and still sociopolitical because there is a long standing tradition of that.”

Gilkyson will perform songs from her first album in three years The Nocturne Diaries.

“All the dark and light is in there,” she said. “For me, these were all songs I wrote at night. That’s a shadow perspective. The things you look at at night are things you don’t look at during the day.” That’s balanced with “a real honouring of things that are still great and precious and still shine really bright at night. There’s bad as well …  (it’s a) bittersweet contrast.”

Produced and recorded in her hometown of Austin with her son, Cisco Ryder, The Nocturne Diaries is a restless contemplative work inspired by the converging forces of her highest hopes and darkest fears. The songs range from roots rockers to a haunting version of the folk classic Fast Freight written by her father, Terry Gilkyson.

“(Fast Freight) is a great folk standard with a new take on it. I changed the gender so it’s the woman who wants to leave and is thinking of hitting the road and casting her fate to the wind,” she said.

Then there’s Midnight Oil, a song she loves.

“It’s a letter to my grandchildren expressing my concerns but also a ray of hope,” she said. “Midnight Oil is the example of the late night ‘yikes’ fear. Touchstone is the song about people in your life that make everything so good. Those are the two extremes.”

The album includes commentary about a kid contemplating his parents gun collection and the poem Where No Monument Stands by William Stafford, set to music by John Gorka, about a field where a battle did not happen so it retains its purity because humans didn’t destroy it.

Musically rich and lyrically thought-provoking, The Nocturne Diaries is a journey through the dark night of the soul that ends at the light of dawn with a sense of gratitude, a renewed commitment to care, and a stubborn little ray of hope.

“We do a lot of singing along,” she said of her hopes for the Oak Bay audience. “I tell a lot of stories, so it’s interactive. It’s a trip, it’s a journey we go on together with a wide range of feelings and thoughts on things.”

Gilkyson performs Saturday, Sept. 6 at 7:30 p.m. at Oak Bay United Church, 1355 Mitchell St. Take a sneak peek online at elizagilkyson.com. Tickets are $35.50 available at rmts.bc.ca.

 

Just Posted

Radio Host Erin Davis pens Mourning Has Broken following death of her daughter

Book by North Saanich woman gives advice to others struggling with grief

Leaving dog in hot car can result in $75,000 fine, prohibition from owning animals, prison

B.C. SPCA received 800 calls last year about dogs left in hot cars

Bed Races on Beacon champs ready to defend their title

Race takes place July 7 on Beacon Avenue, raising funds for the Peninsula Youth Clinic

Belgian man searches for family of fallen First World War soldier from Victoria

Mark Edward Berton attended Victoria High School and has his grave in Flanders Field

Oak Bay artist co-op highlights autobiographical Snapshots showcase

Snapshots runs from June 4 to 22 at Gage Gallery, 2031 Oak Bay Ave.

REPLAY: The best videos from across B.C. this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at the replay-worth highlights from this week in the province

Wildfire crews watching for dangerous wind shift in High Level, Alta.

The Chuckegg Creek fire is raging out of control about three kilometres southwest of the town

UN urges Canada to take more vulnerable Mexican migrants from Central America

The request comes as the United States takes a harder line on its Mexican border

Mistrial declared in Jamie Bacon murder plot trial

Bacon was on trial for counselling to commit the murder of Person X

B.C. VIEWS: Money-laundering melodrama made for TV

Public inquiry staged to point fingers before 2021 election

Canadian homebuyers escaping high housing costs by moving to secondary cities

In British Columbia, exurbs have grown in the Hope Valley and Kamloops

Feds lay out proposed new rules for voice, video recorders in locomotives

Transport Canada wants to limit use of recorders to if a crew’s actions led to a crash

Raptors beat Bucks 100-94 to advance to franchise’s first-ever NBA Finals

Leonard has 27 points, 17 boards to lead Toronto past Milwaukee

Most Read