According to Eliza Gilkyson's liner notes for The Nocturne Diaries, this album is a collection of "songs that came to me in the middle of the night," adding that "the songs that come in the night are very different than the daylight songs." And sure enough, The Nocturne Diaries features several songs that deal with dark and troubling things, including "An American Boy," which concerns a deeply troubled teenager with a short fuse; "The Ark," a first person account of Noah and his mission; "Not My Home," an enigmatic story of a family in chaos, and "World Without End," which contemplates a culture on the verge of collapse. The Nocturne Diaries isn't one of Gilkyson's more cheerful efforts, but it isn't grim or morbid for its own sake; even the darkest moments here are warmed by a genuine compassion for the lost souls who sometimes populate her stories, and a very real concern for the world we all live in is woven through every tune. And on "The Red Rose and the Thorn" and "Midnight Oil," Gilkyson reminds us that love can redeem the bad times, and her vocals, strong but supple, bring an honest and powerful belief to whatever she chooses to sing. Gilkyson's son Cisco Ryder produced the sessions for The Nocturne Diaries, and he's come up with a set of backdrops that are vivid and richly textured without taking the stage away from the lead singer, and this is different but just as effective as their previous album together, Roses at the End of Time. Whether she looks into darkness or light, Eliza Gilkyson's vision is impressive, and she's given us another remarkable glimpse at her gifts as a vocalist and songwriter on The Nocturne Diaries.
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AllMusic Review by Mark Deming