Eliza Gilkyson has the kind of voice that can break your heart, mend it, and teach it a lesson or two in the process. Thirty years in the music industry and raising a family have taught her lessons that her younger counterparts only feign having learned. Her songs, like her voice, are dusky, spirited and soulful; they're roots-driven but never nostalgic, pushing the confines of folk. Lyrically, Gilkyson plays off her world-weary voice with edgy prose that suggests a longing for enlightenment. Much of her newer material sounds stripped down and triumphant, but its emotional intensity is known to wander from heartfelt optimism to the more difficult human conditions -- with a storyteller's eye for detail. The results are rarely less than sad, honest and beautiful. Folk is rarely this engaging. Gilkyson plays Tres Hombres this Saturday. Tickets are $5. Call 687-0625.
-- Brandon S. Laney