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Monday, November 2, 2015

Gauthier and Gilkyson: A Treat Not a Trick

There must be some meaning in which songs are still with you several days after a concert. On Halloween evening we heard Mary Gauthier (Pronounced: GO SHAY) and Eliza Gilkyson at the theater at Kentucky Country Day School.  The wonderful acoustics of the theater, the easy informality of the two singers and songwriters, as well as the comfortable surroundings gave us a feeling we were listening to two old friends singing in their living room to a group of friends.

Several days later I can still hear Gauthier’s warm voice in my head, no iPod necessary, singing “Mercy Now”. And Gilkyson’s there too, particularly singing the haunting song, “Greenfields”, written by her father, Terry Gilkyson. 

That song was made more poignant by her description of her conversation with her father about the song. She explained she had been putting together an album with music that had an environmental meaning. She told her father she thought “Greenfields” was the perfect metaphor for man’s callous relationship to Mother Earth. Her father’s response was: stop looking for hidden meaning. Instead, Terry Gilkyson said “Greenfields” was about Eliza’s mother who had been the love of his life but then left him. So much for hidden meanings.

Mary Gauthier and Eliza Gilkyson, engaging in gentle patter about songs and songwriting, and for the most part taking turns, sang lots of other memorable songs. Highlights included Gauthier on “Last of the Hobo Kings” and her particularly impeccable timing on “I Drink”.

Despite both women talking about how much easier it is to write a song about a break-up than about a happy romance, Gilkyson sang several happy songs, including “Roses at the End of the Day” and “Beauty Way”. She also performed a memorable song, “Jedediah 1777” so named for her eighth-generation ancestor, crediting a treasure trove of his letters written at Valley Forge during the Revolutionary War as the basis for most of the lyrics.  

Gauthier and Gilkyson closed with “Touchstone”, asking the audience to join in as they converted Pete Seeger’s last name into a verb. On an encore, they “Seeger’ed" the audience once again into singing along on Bob Dylan’s “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere.”

I’m still riding high from the concert. Hope you are too from whatever songs are swirling in your head.

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