Jump to Content

Welcome! You’re browsing the No Depression Archives

No Depression has been the foremost journalistic authority on roots music for well over a decade, publishing 75 issues from 1995 to 2008. No Depression ceased publishing magazines in 2008 and took to the web. We have made the contents of those issues accessible online via this extensive archive and also feature a robust community website with blogs, photos, videos, music, news, discussion and more.

Close This

Waxed - Record Review from Issue #32 March-April 2001

Eliza Gilkyson

Hard Times In Babylon (Red House)

Eliza Gilkyson has been making records for nearly two decades, but Hard Times In Babylon is a revelation, a bracing song cycle about the challenges of balancing art and eros. Like Lucinda Williams, she sings with a scratchy, wounded sensuality, suggesting a wise and generous soul beneath a rough and tumble surface. And she supports her erudite, soul-searching lyrics with catchy, hummable melodies.

The gutty, up-tempo opening track establishes “The Beauty Way” as an insightful, effective metaphor, telling us with clarity and conviction that Gilkyson plays for high stakes. For her, creating music is not a way of looking at the world, but a life-and-death struggle in its own right.

Though she bases her insights on intense self-scrutiny, Gilkyson is never self-indulgent. From her candid, caustic confessions, we glean basic truths and sound advice, such as how to believe in love while retaining a healthy skepticism. On “Walk Away From Love”, she sings: “I got a foolish heart but I’m not an idiot/I don’t trust the world of man but I still believe in love/People hide from the truth but I can’t live like that.”

Gilkyson acknowledges her own quirks and eccentricities, and admits to a weakness for men she should avoid (“You’re so beautiful, you don’t give a damn/you’re everything I’ve wanted in a man,” she sings in “Twisted”). But her ultimate goal, which may or may not be attainable, is admirable: to achieve a kind of reciprocity, a relationship stripped of pretense yet full of promise, as she ponders in “Flatline: “Maybe by the time he gets here he won’t be a prince anymore, and I won’t be such a fool.”

Enjoy the ND archives? Consider making a donation with PayPal or send a check to:
No Depression, 460 Bush St., San Francisco, CA 94108

Discuss

Did you enjoy this article? Start a discussion about it, or find out what others are saying in the No Depression Community forum.

Join the Discussion »

Find out what's going on in roots music. Share concert photos and videos, learn about new artists, blog about the music you love.

Join the No Depression Community »

Originally Featured in Issue #32 March-April 2001

Buy our history before it’s gone!

Each issue is artfully designed and packed full of great photos that you don‘t get online. Visit the No Depression store to own a piece of history.

Visit the No Depression Store »


From the Blogs

  • Rod Kennedy (1930-2014) and the Kerrville Folk Festival - Interview & Remembrance
    Rod Kennedy’s legacy is incalculable for those who truly love music, he departed this earthly plane on Monday 14th April 2014. R.I.P. The following “warts and all” late May 1986 interview with Mr. Kennedy, the founder of the Kerrville Folk Festival, was the lead feature in the debut issue of the Kerrville Kronikle fanzine sometime around 1988. No serendipity […]
  • Katie Herzig - Walk Through Walls (Album Review)
    Once upon a time, Katie Herzig wore her heart on her sleeve and wielded an acoustic guitar, both apropos of being a singer/songwriter. These days, though, she keeps company with synthesizers and drum loops. Yeah, the heart is still right there on the sleeve, but now you can groove to its beat. Herzig's new collection, Walk Through Walls, is a song cycle […]
  • Exclusive Premiere of Cowboy Jack Clement's "Let the Chips Fall"
    Cowboy Jack was one of the most beloved country and Americana artists of his generation. For proof, just look at the list of artists who showed up to lend a hand on his final album: John Prine, Emmylou Harris, Bobby Bare, Duane Eddy, T Bone Burnett, Vince Gill, Marty Stuart, Rodney Crowell, Buddy Miller, Dan Auerbach, Leon Russell, Gillian Welch, Dave Rawlin […]
  • Reagan Boggs on Americana Music Show #187
    On episode 187 of the Americana Music Show, Reagan Boggs plays 3 tracks from Quicksand and talks about writing songs about tough ladies and the value of simple songs. Also on this episode, heartland rock & roll from Chuck Ragan, indie rock from Jonny Two Bags, southern rock from Jimbo Mathus, honky… […]
  • Easy Ed's Sideshow of Solos, Duets and Ensembles: Session #42
    Welcome to the 42nd installment of random thoughts, trivial facts. occasional fiction, poetry, haikus, photos, artwork, stories of fleeting fame and dastardly deeds, and videos or tunes that may have caught my attention or fancy of late. As you can see by the picture at the side, I've got dessert on my mind, and in particular...pies. The Oxford Companio […]
  • St. Vincent in Concert: As Performance Artist, Annie Clark Shows Her True Colors
    One of the most intriguing aspects about attending a St. Vincent concert is the anticipation. What will Annie Clark do next? That’s what one high-strung son of someone was thinking for the rest of us while pressed up against the barrier leaving just enough breathing room between entertainer and her target audience as March wound down while that inevitable da […]

Shop Amazon by clicking through this logo to support NoDepression.com. We get a percentage of every purchase you make!


Subscribe To the No Depression Newsletter

Subscribe to the No Depression Newsletter