Paradise Hotel

Like all the best folksingers, ELIZA GILKYSON draws from anger at the way things are. It wasn’t always so; the daughter of songwriter Terry Gilkyson did dabble in the bliss of new-age music. But times change, and Eliza found her way to her folk roots and, eventually, to Austin. PARADISE HOTEL (Red House) tempers her last release (though one of its best songs, “Man of God,” is a scathing anti-Bush screed), concentrating on symbolism and the politics of the personal. The songwriting is sharp and elegant, the arrangements less so; at times there’s little to recommend besides Mike Hardwick’s standout guitar work. Still, the album’s loaded with gems: a song based on Revolutionary War letters, a near-perfect World Party cover, and the story of a helpless soul moving through life’s machinations while “the bird in my hand is promising paradise.”

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