Mark Eitzel The Ugly American

[Thirsty Ear; 2003]

Rating: 4/5

Styles: folk, folk-pop, Americana
Others: Califone, Red Red Meat, American Music Club

It seems that our valiant and always melancholy singer Mark Eitzel has been doing some traveling. And from the sounds of it, Mark Eitzel has been working diligently at creating a divergence for his fans while he properly follows up his 2001 masterpiece, The Invisible Man. Last year, Eitzel released a patchy and unnecessary covers album, entitled Music for Courage & Confidence, that deliberately filled the gap until his official new release expectation. But again, Eitzel continues to stun his fans by releasing The Ugly American, an album overloaded with different interpretations of his previous solo work and his work with the legendary American Music Club. But that’s not all; Eitzel travelled across the globe to record this album in Greece, accompanied by local musicians with a tremendously bold and inventive Grecian folk instrumentation. So is The Ugly American another filler until we are graced with new material?

Perhaps, but what is evident with this record is the heart and soul that is fabricated as you listen. Throughout the album’s beautiful and emotionally powerful music, Eitzel is able to reinvent his previous mastery and renew the sound of his prominent and important career. And if that’s not enough, The Ugly American is a perfect retrospect of how emotionally and sensitively commanding Eitzel’s musicianship truly is and how complex and heartfelt his passion is towards his previous work. These remakes are not sloppy, showcasing Eitzel’s remarkable love for his music. With the addition of Greece’s finest music, The Ugly American is a must for Eitzel fans and for anyone who wishes to be introduced to his music.

By placing himself in an unfamiliar situation, Eitzel has proven to his fans that he is able to conjure a truly innovative record by concentrating on his ability to perform with utmost compassion. As many fans will admit, The Ugly American has enough strength to hold them up until his proper follow-up appears in the future. Truly inspirational and imaginative.

1. Western sky
2. Here they roll down
3. Jenny
4. Nightwatchman
5. Take courage
6. Anything
7. What good is love
8. Will you find me
9. Last harbor
10. Love’s humming

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