Folk singer Eliza Gilkyson is at the top of her game. Grammy-nominated at age 55 for Best Contemporary Folk Album, the politically outspoken Austin, Texas based songwriter is in the midst of an active touring schedule encompassing several Canadian folk festivals and shows in Scotland, England and Ireland. And, in the middle of all this, she’s coming to Fayetteville on Saturday to perform at the Dickson Theater for Arkansas Support Network’s annual fundraiser.
Gilkyson grew up in Los Angeles, the daughter of established songwriter and folk musician Terry Gilkyson, who formed the band The Easy Riders and who penned such compositions as “Memories Are Made of This” (a hit for Dean Martin), “Greenfields” and “Bare Necessities” from the Disney film “The Jungle Book”.
Eliza, left California and spent time living in New Mexico and Europe before settling in Austin, a place she’s called home for more than two decades. In 2003 she was inducted into the Austin Music Hall of Fame.
A prolific songstress, Gilkyson has released 16 albums. Her 2004 CD, “The Land of Milk and Honey,” earned her a Grammy nomination. Her recent recordings have been on Red House Records, known for its catalog of high quality roots and Americana music.
The New York Times describes Gilkyson’s songs as having “edgy lyrics with piercing imagery.” She embraces controversial topics. Her impassioned anthem of escape from domestic violence, “Rosie Strike Back,” was recorded by Rosanne Cash. Gilkyson openly attacks George W. Bush in the song “Man of God” on her album “Paradise Hotel.” “Requiem,” was written in response to the Asian tsunamis, as a way to help herself and others mourn.
Gilkyson’s voice is intimate, other-worldly and unflinchingly honest. On her latest CD, “Beautiful World,” she sings about love, politics, the environment and teenage internet porn. No topic is taboo. In “The Party’s Over” she subtly alludes to the Bush administration as it unapologetically looks back over eight disastrous years.
In classic jazz mode Gilkyson presents the song “Unsustainable,” which easily could have accompanied Al Gore’s documentary “An Inconvenient Truth:”
We’ve gone too far and now it’s uncontainable
Let’s tear it down and start all over again.
The way we are is truly incomprehensible
Back to the drawing board, start all over again.
Arkansas Support Network, is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. ASN provides a variety of services to children and adults with disabilities. Its annual fundraising concert provides support for KidsClub, an inclusive summer day camp for children with disabilities, which was started in 1997 and has grown to include locations, in Fayetteville, Springdale, Rogers and Siloam Springs.
Doors open at 6 p.m., concert at 7 p.m. Tickets are $25 and are available at Sound Warehouse or by contacting LaDonna Meredith at 756-4204 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Emily Kaitz
Australian modern rockers Sick Puppies will play George’s on Sunday night. The band, whose music ranges from melodic rock to a wall of heavy guitar and drums, has gotten the attention of Oprah and Leno with their “free hugs” campaign. Tickets are on sale now at George’s.
***Notice: In the print edition of the Aug. 14 Free Weekly, it was incorrectly stated that the Eureka Springs Bluegrass Festival is Aug. 14-17. The festival will be Aug. 21-24.***
Bluegrass Fest and Ice Cream Social
The dawn of fall festivals is just beginning to break and two longtime events are happening at the end of this month.
The Eureka Springs Bluegrass Festival kicks off on Thursday August 28th and runs through Sunday, August 31st. Basin Park in downtown will be filled with free music throughout the festival beginning with a jam at 7 p.m., with free watermelon.
Ticketed shows are scheduled throughout the weekend at The City Auditorium. Festival performers include: Eureka Springs Bluegrass Band, The Williams Family, Ozark Alliance, Radford Ellis, Mill Creek and Dragonmasters, Spoon Man, Mark Jones, Larry Nelson Family, Mr. Bass Himself, Pam Kirby & Friends, Old School, Buffalo City Ramblers, Arkansas Red, Steve Bush, Gary Albrighten, Spring Street, Melody Hart and Kari Garrison.
For tickets and more information go to EurekaSpringsBluegrassFestival.com or call 253-7788.
For a fun and relaxing trip back in time, put the Washington County Historical Society’s annual Ice Cream Social on your calendar for Saturday afternoon. Held on the grounds of the historic Headquarters House at 118 E. Dickson St. — the other end of Dickson Street, for those who don’t know — the event is always good old-fashioned fun. There will be garden and house tours, living history characters, instructions on tea etiquette, music, dancing and of course homemade ice cream and cakes. The event will be from 1 to 4 p.m. Admission is $2.50-$15.