We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.
As songwriter for American Music Club, Mark Eitzel too often gave in to his bandmates’ bar-band tendencies and his producers’ glossy techniques. Songs like “Blue and Grey Shirt” and “Western Sky” (from AMC’s California) were poignant tales of loneliness and longing, but they were performed with such exacting professionalism that it took several spins to grasp their poetry. It wasn’t until Eitzel’s 1991 solo acoustic interpretations on Songs of Love that the pain in these songs was communicated with immediacy. So when I heard the songwriter had gone solo for 60 Watt Silver Lining, I was ecstatic. Unfortunately, the studio band–assisted 60 Watt suffers from the same MOR blandness that attacked many a great Eitzel song in the past. Chances are this won’t be a problem live. Joel R.L. Phelps opens at 8:30 p.m. at the Birchmere, 3901 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria. $10. (703) 549-5919. (Christopher Porter)