Eliza Gilkyson put out her twentieth album, Secularia, this July. Although the two-time Grammy nominee has explored her spiritual side through lush traditional folk for decades, Secularia is an unflinching examination of higher power—even if she doesn’t always offer concrete answers about her beliefs. “It’s been in my mind and my heart for a long time,” Gilkyson says. “I’ve written songs that had a sort of spiritual nature to them, but I never put out a complete record that was just targeting that.”
“These songs really mean a lot to me,” Gilkyson says. “They’re part of my process of trying not to throw the baby out with the bathwater in seeking a spiritual life that is free of ideology, free of gender. So all these things come up in the record, the process of how do you address grief, fear, mortality, gratitude. How do you go through that gamut of feeling and serve something greater? How do you do that without knowing what that something is? My conclusion is that it didn’t matter. You don’t have to pigeon[hole] yourself into a belief system or an ideology or something that’s exclusive.”
Gilkyson stopped by the Texas Monthly studio to perform “Seculare,” a haunting thank-you letter to life and all of its complexities.