Mark Eitzel

Music for Courage and Confidence

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The track list makes this collection of covers look mind-bogglingly diverse. Is it really possible that a single album could comfortably embrace material as varied as Glen Campbell's "Gentle on My Mind," Culture Club's "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me," and Phil Ochs' "Rehearsals for Retirement"? Mark Eitzel pulls it off, but the bad news is that his album turns out to be anything but diverse. Listening to the opening tracks, Anne Murray's "Snowbird" and Bill Withers' "Ain't No Sunshine," you're likely to be impressed by the way Eitzel has reworked them. But as the program continues, it becomes clear that he has reinvented most of the tracks in pretty much the same way, and the limits of his low-key, almost whispery vocals can grow tiring. Indeed, on tunes like the Flamingos' "I Only Have Eyes for You" and Billie Holiday's "I'll Be Seeing You," Eitzel sounds so subdued that you may find yourself wishing he'd just snap out of his funk. That said, fans of his erstwhile group, American Music Club, may well want to check this out. The song selection is certainly imaginative, and Eitzel's approach is a good match for tracks like the Murray, Campbell, and Ochs covers.

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