Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music
(b c.1951) Singer, songwriter. Her father Terry Gilkyson was a successful songwriter; see his entry. Eliza made her home in New Mexico, where she released Eliza '69 on a Mont Clare label. Her stage presence and songwriting talent were obvious; Michael Brovsky signed her to his Free Flow Productions, and albums in the 1980s included Love From The Heart '79 as Lisa Gilkyson on Helios. On the Gold Coast label albums such as the introspective Pilgrims and Legends of Rainmaker '87-9 were said to be overproduced; the latter included ‘Rosie Strikes Back', with guest Bonnie Raitt. In the early '90s Eliza toured in Europe with the Swiss harpist Andreas Vollenweider. Through the Looking Glass '93 on Private Music included ‘Lights Of Santa Fe', about how the beloved town was changing, and her father's song ‘Take Off Your Old Coat', with younger brother Tony on guitar and Terry's bass vocal in the harmony. Undressed '94 on Revelizations and Redemption Road '97 on Silver Wave were further independent productions; then she rested for a while, settling in Austin, Texas, near her daughter and baby granddaughter.
She put out Misfits on her own Realiza label in early 2000, a collection of unreleased tracks which proved that she had more good stuff in her bag than she had been able to put out, with standout tracks ‘Mama's Little Baby', ‘Last Big Thrill' and a duet with John Doe (from the L.A. band ‘X') on Bob Dylan's ‘Chimes of Freedom'. A new deal with Red House led to Hard Times in Babylon in April 2000, delighting friends and fans, followed by Lost and Found 2002, her best yet, including ‘Easy Rider', about her dad. Among the guests on the album was brother Tony (who'd played with X). Over the years Eliza had contributed vocals to albums by that band's Exene Cervenka, as well as Iain Matthews, Tom Paxton, Tom Russell and others. Another album, More Than A Song 2001 from Perfect Pitch Productions, featured Eliza with Matthews and Ad Vanderveen. A new Joan Baez album, Day After Tomorrow 2008, included two of Eliza's songs.