Song of the Day, August 3: Jesus’ Hands by American Music Club
August 3, 2016 Leave a comment
Today’s song is the perfect distillation of a troubled songwriter’s genius. Mark Eitzel has made a career writing and singing about loneliness and alcohol. The two themes fit nicely together, and he often explores that relationship. The finest example of this approach closes his band American Music Club’s best album, Everclear.
Narrated by a loner sitting at a bar, it starts with his classic claim that he has places to go and people to see, and oh, by the way, “a thirst that would make the ocean proud.” In no hurry to get to those places, he tells the listener his story of heartbreak, punctuating it with his efforts to use drink to cope. Unlike many of Eitzel’s songs, this is direct narrative with simple imagery, and it gains power from that approach.
The band provide a perfect country weeper backdrop, with mandolin and steel guitar bolstering Eitzel’s barely restrained ache. By the end of the song, a tightly constructed three minutes of sad tension, the narrator is far more honest.
I’ve got nowhere to go
No-one to see
I got thirst that would make the ocean proud.
That thirst is part of a cycle, one that has led him to further loneliness. In a perfect image, Eitzel has him conclude that he’s slipping through Jesus’ Hands.
Enjoy this powerful song today.