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Austin360 On The Record: Jimmy LaFave, Eliza Gilkyson, more

Peter Blackstock
pblackstock@statesman.com

Eliza Gilkyson, “Secularia” (Red House). Now nearly a dozen records into a fruitful tenure with renowned folk label Red House, Gilkyson is producing the best music of her career. Her 2014 album “The Nocturne Diaries” got nominated for a Grammy, and “Secularia” might be even stronger. As the title hints, spirituality is a central theme here, but it’s a relationship that transcends the bounds of organized religion. Indeed, on “In the Name of the Lord,” Gilkyson laments the state of the world as it relates to professed but not practiced faith. “We watch the empire’s epic fail, on shiny hand-held screens,” she sings, concluding in the chorus, “and it’s all in the name of the lord.” Darkness turns to light often on “Secularia,” though: In “Lifelines” she begins with the realization that “the center cannot hold,” but then looks forward: “Out of the nighttime, like minds turn toward the dawn.” Musically, “Secularia” travels further down a path Gilkyson has long followed, grounded in folk music but embroidered with rich atmospheric accents. Her son Cisco Ryder Gilliland returns as producer, deftly blending the contributions of Austin aces including Mike Hardwick, Warren Hood, Kym Warner, Chris Maresh and the Tosca String Quartet: Prominent vocal cameos come from gospel singer Sam Butler on “Sanctuary,” Shawn Colvin on “Conservation” (one of two songs featuring lyrics adapted from Gilkyson’s parents), and the late Jimmy LaFave on the traditional folk classic “Down By the Riverside.”Release show July 27 at Stateside at the Paramount. Here’s the opening track, “Solitary Singer”:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mmMQnymj8KY&w=640&h=390]

Nichole Wagner, “And the Sky Caught Fire.” The follow-up to last year’s EP “Plotting the Constellations,” Wagner’s first full-length record establishes her as one of Austin’s most promising young singer-songwriters. At times Wagner turns up the electric energy, as on the bluesy “Dynamite” and the more pop-oriented “This Kind of Love.” Elsewhere, she goes for a quieter vibe centered on acoustic guitar and piano, notably on “Yellow Butterfly” and “Fires of Pompeii,” the latter a duet with Nashville troubadour Rod Picott. Producer Justin Douglas gives the record a sonic consistency and professionalism with help from musicians including Will Sexton on guitar. Wagner wrote or co-wrote (with Terry Klein and Kristin Kirkpatrick) nine of the disc’s 10 songs, the lone exception being an exquisite cover of Warren Zevon’s “Reconsider Me.” Release show July 14 at Townsend. Here’s a lyric video for the track “This Kind of Love”:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQxVm9_I3d4&w=640&h=390]

COMING SOON

  • JULY 20: Ume, “Other Nature,” in-store July 17 at Waterloo Records.
  • JULY 20: Belle Sounds, “The Sea Within,” release show July 21 at One-2-One Bar.
  • JULY 27: Israel Nash, “Lifted,” release show July 27 at Scoot Inn.
  • JULY 27: Cody Jinks, “Lifers.”
  • JULY 29: Madi Meeks, “For You” EP, release show July 28 at Carousel Lounge.
  • AUG. 3: Kevin Galloway, “The Change” (Nine Mile), release show Aug. 3 at Continental Club.
  • AUG. 9: Ben Ballinger, “Live at the Cactus Cafe” EP, release show Aug. 9 at Cactus Cafe.
  • AUG. 17: Joe Ely, “The Lubbock Tapes: Full Circle” (Rack ’Em).
  • AUG. 17: Jeremy Nail, “Live Oak.”
  • AUG. 23: Mike Schoenfeld, “Little Feet” EP, release show Aug. 23 at Kitty Cohen.
  • AUG. 24: White Denim, “Performance” (City Slang).
  • AUG. 24: Teddy Glass, “Nights and Weekends.”
  • AUGUST: Saents, self-titled EP.
  • SEPT. 7: Ghostland Observatory, “See You Later Simulator,” playing Bat Fest Aug. 18.
  • SEPT. 14: Asleep at the Wheel, “New Routes.”
  • SEPT. 14: Gina Chavez, “Lightbeam” EP, release show Sept. 15 at Antone’s.
  • SEPT. 21: Western Youth, self-titled.
  • SEPT. 21: Jonathon Zemek, “Hillcrest.”
  • SEPT. 28: Jerry David DeCicca, “Burning Daylight” (Super Secret).
  • SEPTEMBER: Band of Heathens, “A Message From the People Revisited.”