Mark Eitzel

Take Courage

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Issued on the then-fledgling Matador label to little notice, Mark Eitzel's debut solo single, "Take Courage," badly deserves to see reissue; the song is among Eitzel's most moving, a quietly graceful meditation on the immense intestinal fortitude needed to simply get through the day. Its title inspired by a billboard the young Eitzel passed on the bus to school each morning, "Take Courage" -- in his world a phrase more foreboding than it is heartening -- is a solo single in the truest sense, comprising just voice and acoustic guitar, and the stark intimacy of its presentation is perfectly attuned to the deeply personal message it conveys. Self-deprecatingly subtitled "On the Emblematic Use of Jewelry as a Metaphor for the Dissolution of Our Hopes and Dreams," its lyrics traffic in stream-of-consciousness wordplay that nevertheless resonates on a profoundly emotional level.