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The Melancholy Man Lightens Up
[FINAL Edition]
The Washington Post - Washington, D.C.
Subjects: Personal profiles; Popular music; Musicians & conductors
Author: Harrington, Richard
Date: May 24, 2002
Start Page: T.06
Section: WEEKEND

Now, [MARK EITZEL] has crafted his own collection of covers, the somberly titled "Music for Courage & Confidence," and it both makes sense and surprises. You'd expect Eitzel to tap into the empty sorrow of Bill Withers's "Ain't No Sunshine," Kris Kristofferson's aching plea, "Help Me Make It Through the Night," even the exhausted declarations of Liberace's closing theme, "I'll Be Seeing You" and "I Only Have Eyes for You," the Flamingos' doo-wop classic here recast as down-tempo torch.

An album of covers wasn't his idea, Eitzel admits, but that of producer Johan Kugelberg, who chose the songs and assembled the musicians (including Beck's rhythm section, drummer Joey Waronker and bassist Justin Meldal-Johnsen). In a sense, Eitzel stepped in as a session singer -- the band had rehearsed all the songs beforehand, and there was no time to rearrange them.

While Eitzel expects to work on another solo album soon, he's also collaborating with Joe Gore of P.J. Harvey's band. "He provides the music and I provide the lyrics," Eitzel says. "Joe's a good friend, a brilliant musician, and he understands the idiom of pop music better than I do, actually. My songwriting is very interior, at least it has been. Maybe now it won't be, but Joe brings this great pop sensibility that I don't have."

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