At last year’s Kerrville Folk Festival Eliza Gilkyson survived a bad accident: “I left my car in gear when I pulled up and got halfway out of the car, which rolled forward and dragged me down a dirt road, over a low rock wall and into a tree.” She reflects: “I don’t know why I didn’t die, and when I re-live it the math just doesn’t add up, like how did I survive that? It felt miraculous, still does.”
Gilkyson conveys the unearthliness of the scene of her accident in her brightly ethereal “Safety Zone,” the first single from her upcoming album Home, out June 23 on Realiza Records. The song patters along Gypsy jazz, Django Reinhardt-like rhythm guitar strums while Don Richmond’s resonator guitar lines and Ray Bonneville’s moaning harp notes weave under and around each other, creating a spooky reverberation as the song slowly unfurls. The gospel-inflected chorus features a call and response structure that affirms the power of universe that protects the singer from harm, at least in this moment.
The beauty of the song lies in its joyous affirmation of the strength of the soul, which emanates from facing down the injustices that surround it. In spite of its minor chord sonic architecture, “Safety Zone” shimmers with a glow that illumines the dark dualities of the lyrics, dancing like skeletons to a jaunty Halloween tune.
As Gilkyson reflects further about writing the song: “I felt held and watched over somehow. Doesn’t mean that I think my prayers will be answered by some supernatural entity, but more that I have something mysterious within myself that feels powerful, connected and loved. There’s an inner strength that comes from standing up against what is unfair in the world today, and for me, pushing back against the immorality of the Right invites that same sort of empowerment from within, something I tapped Into that day when I thought this could be my last moment.”
More about Home, out on June 23, HERE
“Safety Zone” available HERE