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Paradise Hotel

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Album Review

On her last album, 2004's Land of Milk and Honey, Eliza Gilkyson, long based in Austin, Texas, made some of her most explicitly political statements and, for her trouble, earned a Grammy nomination for Best Contemporary Folk Album, as well, it seems, as critical email from some of her fans. (Like Natalie Maines of Dixie Chicks, Gilkyson seemed ashamed that the President of the U.S. was from Texas, and while she acknowledged the criticism on her website,, she also made a point of noting that 57,288,974 Americans, at the very least — the number of people who voted for Senator John Kerry for President in 2004 — were on her side.) If Land of Milk and Honey was her pre-election treatise, Paradise Hotel is, inevitably, her post-election lament, one she sings in a mature, smoky voice that is occasionally reminiscent of Emmylou Harris, three years her senior, and often of Lucinda Williams, three years her junior. True, the only explicitly political song on the album is "Man of God," an unsparing condemnation of George W. Bush that denies his claim to religious justification for his foreign and domestic policies. ("Jesus said help the poor and the weak/If he lived today he'd be a liberal freak.") But Gilkyson also finds analogous historical and spiritual subjects to get her points across. "Jedidiah 1777," based on the letters of her ancestor, Brigadier General Jedidiah Huntington, who fought in the Revolutionary War with George Washington, echoes her feelings about the Bush Administration with its criticism of "loyalists laying their money down on the king" and its statement that "if victory were just for the wealthy our noble cause wouldn't be worth the hardship we're suffering." Elsewhere, she takes a distinctly elegiac tone in the prayerful "Requiem" and "When You Walk On" (which might as well be called "When You Pass On"), the songs that end the disc. But these tracks and "Calm Before the Storm," coming just before them, offer comfort through faith and family, and it's significant that, though she covers World Party's history-of-the-world song "Is It Like Today?" (and makes it sound like one of her own tunes), she deliberately leaves off its ending, in which a frustrated God blows up the universe and starts all over again. Dire as she may consider things to be, Gilkyson makes clear in the title track that the "Paradise Hotel" is at least across the street and well within sight, even if, for the moment, its blinking sign is keeping her from getting any sleep.

Customer Reviews

A Gem

Eliza Gilkyson has given us a gem with "Paradise Hotel." From the opening "Borderline," a love song with a twang, to the political and eminently singable "Man of God," to the spiritual "Requiem," this is an album with heart in her storytelling and in the music. "Requiem" is especially poignant in light of Hurricane Katrina just a month after the album was released. When you listen to this song you can see the images brought to us of the devastated Gulf Coast. Gilkyson sings, "In the dark night of the soul bring some comfort to us all..." Her music does just that.

Border line

I stumbled onto this gifted vocalist while reading of her father, Terry, of the The Easy Riders. What a find! Her voice is like silky smoke and the lyrics are so very beautiful. I'm sorry one of Ws fans was offended by artists who express political views, but that's typical of the Bushies---no one can criticize W without being smeared. "Man of God" is a brilliant biting condemnation of all that's wrong with this administration. Borderline is a wonderfully poigiant tune. The rest is delightful. Will be searching for more of her cds on ITUNE.Dave

A Great Accident that I Found with no Regrets

I was browsing through Itunes and I notice Shawn Colvin which I do have her greatest hits collection on cd as of right now. I was just curious to see what Itunes have in their collection so I looked up Shawn Colvin. What I found besides her was Eliza Gilkyson. It did not dawn on me until I went to Eliza Gilkyson's site that Shawn Colvin sang in the song Calm Before the Storm. Okay!! On to her album!! :) What I love about her album... her voice has such passion in what she sings and it does not overwhelm you which even makes it better!!! I'm glad I found this accident.. :)


Born: 1950 in Hollywood, CA

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Folk singer/songwriter Eliza Gilkyson was born in Hollywood, California, the daughter of folk-pop singer/songwriter Terry Gilkyson (1916-1999). Her father wrote and recorded "The Cry of the Wild Goose," which Frankie Laine covered for a number one hit in 1950, as well as the 1953 Top Ten hit "Tell Me a Story," recorded by Laine Jimmy Boyd. As a performer, he was co-credited with the Weavers on the 1951 Top Ten hit "On Top of Old Smoky." With Richard Dehr and Frank Miller, he was a member of the Easy...
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Paradise Hotel, Eliza Gilkyson
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