Music Review: Secularia
Twenty albums in, Eliza Gilkyson is still creating music of richness and depth. With instruments like fiddle, electric guitar, and mandolin accentuating her singing and guitar playing, the renowned Austin, Texas–based folk musician uses her latest songs to express her views on spirituality, female empowerment, and mortality.
True to its name, Secularia explores spiritual domains without embracing religious ideology. On “Conservation,” one of two songs featuring music cowritten with Gilkyson’s father and lyrics by her grandmother, the singer overtly declares, “I have no god, no king or savior, no world beyond the setting sun. I’ll give my thanks for one more day here and go to ground when my time has come.” She distances herself further from traditional theology with “In the Name of the Lord,” which, along with boasting one of the most memorable melodies on the album, takes on the injustices that patriarchal religion
Secularia explores spiritual domains without embracing religious ideology.
Ironically, the song “Seculare” represents Gilkyson’s cosmology at its least secular. Individual listeners can decide for themselves whom the vocalist is addressing with lines like “Thank you for the sun. Thank you for the full moon. Thank you for my true love’s face and our lives in love consumed.”
On the album’s closer, “Instrument,” Gilkyson once again sings directly to the divine, inviting it to use her as its vessel while the opportunity is still here. “I’m your unworthy instrument,” she offers. “Come strike my final tones and blow your horn magnificent through the hollows of my bones.” —Damon Orion