Mark Eitzel

Mark Eitzel's new record, Don't Be a Stranger, was released by Merge Records on October 2, 2012 in North America, South America, and Asia.

After a string of bad luck that included a heart attack that set him back several months and the implosion of his band American Music Club, Mark Eitzel fortuitously found himself in the studio with celebrated producer Sheldon Gomberg (Rickie Lee Jones, Ron Sexsmith, Ben Harper), thanks to the generosity of an old friend. The result is Eitzel's finest solo album in over a decade.

Mark began writing and recording the songs that would become Don't Be a Stranger in early 2010. Initially planned as the next American Music Club album, it quickly became evident that the new songs would work better as a solo album. He visited the UK for a few months to play the All Tomorrow's Parties festival and to help launch Marine Parade, the musical he co-wrote with Simon Stephens, which premiered at the Brighton Festival and has gone on to be produced in Germany.

Then in May of 2011, Mark suffered a serious heart attack that kept him flat on his back and out of circulation until the following October. He had to seriously re-evaluate his lifestyle and habits and take a step back from the recording.

Good luck suddenly appeared in the form of a friend who had just won the lottery and offered to fund his recording in a studio. Producer Sheldon Gomberg put together a band that included Attractions drummer Pete Thomas and American Music Club guitarist Vudi on a few songs, as well as a full string section and many Los Angeles musical luminaries. The organic collaboration between Mark and Sheldon resulted in a generous and beautiful record, about which Mark says, "I wanted to make an album more reminiscent of records like Harvest by Neil Young or Five Leaves Left by Nick Drake than anything I've previously done."

Inspired by his experience writing a musical, Mark's songwriting is simpler on this record and lyrically reflects a more straight-ahead approach. There is a haunted quality to tracks like "I Love You But You're Dead" (a song based on seeing the punk band Destroy All Monsters) and "The Bill Is Due," which are about broken promises, leftover people, the desperation one feels when time and cash are running out, and ultimately, the feeling of not knowing what comes next. "Break the Champagne" and "Nowhere to Run" were written in a fit of creativity just days before the album was completed.

Mark Eitzel has released over 15 albums of original material with his band American Music Club and as a solo artist. The Guardian has called him "America's Greatest Living Lyricist" and Rolling Stone once gave him their Songwriter of the Year award. Originally formed in 1983, American Music Club released seven albums before breaking up in 1995. They reunited in 2004 and subsequently released two albums on Merge Records, Love Songs for Patriots and The Golden Age.

Mark plans to tour the US in late 2012 and Europe in early 2013 with his band Mark Eitzel��s Warm Gentle Rain, whose stateside members include Kristin Sobditch (Little Fuzzy), Marc Capelle (American Music Club), Jon Langmead (Loquat), and Pete Straus (Dwarves). His live set consists of a mixture of songs from his rich catalog, including selections from American Music Club as well as newer material. Mark's touring band will consist of piano, bass, and drums in the classic lounge style, but he also plans to "bring the chaos" in the form of his electric guitar. Renowned for his self-deprecating sense of humor, Mark's live shows are always unique and unpredictable in the best possible way.

Carletta Sue Kay

Carletta Sue Kay are equal parts Marianne Faithful, Joanna Newsom and Emmylou Harris, coupled with the song writing styles of Stephen Merritt and Cole Porter. CSK is named after singer-songwriter Randy Walker’s real-life cousin who served a prison sentence for domestic terrorism and threatening to blow-up her ex-boyfriend with a pipe bomb. This is an auspicious inspiration for a musical persona who, performing with an obvious five-o’clock shadow, sings heart-wrenching yet transformative songs of love, life, and relationships told from the perspective of a woman. The debut Carletta Sue Kay LP ‘Incongruent’ (Kitten Charmer) and. Randy Walker, aka Carletta recorded backing vocals with the Magnetic Fields on their 10th album Love at the Bottom of the Sea (Merge).

“Perhaps the most obvious comparison for Mr. Walker’s gender- and genre-bending approach would be Antony Hegarty, the androgynous singer with an angelic voice...but Mr. Walker is more in the realm of sweaty rock ’n’ roll than torch songs: his voice, a tenor, can easily slide up and down the scale...”
New York Times

“Carletta Sue Kay is the female alter-ego of SF musician Randy Walker, and this identity shift pushes his art in some astonishing directions. Androgynous to its core, and loaded with overtones, his vocal delivery as Carletta Sue Kay can recall Annie Lennox, Gene Ween, and Joanna Newsom, all in the same breath.”
San Francisco Bay Guardian

Will Sprott (The Mumlers)

Will Sprott is a song & dance man originally from San Jose, California. His old band the Mumlers was a ramshackle, shape-shifting crew of friends known for being a fun group of wild nerds. These days he performs most often under his own name, sometimes by himself, sometimes with other people. His musical travels have led him on zigzagging trails around the continent appearing everywhere from the Warfield in San Francisco to the Bowery Ballroom in New York City & all over the place in between, sharing stages with many luminaries of the musical underworld along the way. He recently finished a new record, Vortex Numbers, to be released soon.

“Sprott is a writer’s writer, turning glorious phrases and crafting storylines that employ classic sentiments and themes but tackle them with a unique touch that feels ancient and natural, as if he’s got a playbook full of secret audibles that can be claimed for his own.” —Daytrotter

"Not unlike The Odyssey, The White Album, or a broken watch, his music is timeless." —Metro Silicon Valley

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Mark Eitzel with Carletta Sue Kay, Will Sprott (The Mumlers)

Wednesday, June 19 · Doors 8:00 PM / Show 9:00 PM at Brick & Mortar Music Hall