my new favourite band
According to Wikipedia, Iron & Wine is the 'stage and recording name of folk rock singer-songwriter Sam Beam'.
Personally, I don't like labelling music as much as I do describing it... I find labels can be inhibiting to your open, honest listening experience, especially when hearing certain music for the first time.
Sam is a full-bearded, kind-eyed Jesus lookalike, whose soft voice is a soothing caress to your soul.
I was first exposed to the music of Iron & Wine while holidaying back home in New Zealand, sitting on the balcony of my good friend's room overlooking Brooklyn, Wellington.
Drinking gin with kiwifruit nectar, my friend played their most recent album 'The Shepherd's Dog', and I was sceptical at first.
As I listened to the whole album, songs like "Lovesong of the Buzzard" and "House by the Sea" became a soundtrack to the day instead of space/time/silence filler.
I love an album that can become background music which fills your heart with joy, and fits the day so beautifully no matter where you are.
Then I discovered that Sam Beam performed a song for a movie that I really enjoyed quite a while ago, called 'Garden State'. If you haven't seen this yet, give it a try - Zach Braff from Scrubs plays the main character.
The song is a cover of 'Such Great Heights' by The Postal Cover.
When I returned home, one of the first things I did was buy the album - and now I am well and truly hooked! Sam Beam is not only a very talented musician, playing rhythms that undulate beneath your skin; arrangements that pull at the hairs on the back of your neck, his voice is so beautiful and soft yet strong, but he is an amazing poet.
His lyrics are rich and strategic, deep and soulful -
"And we’ll undress beside the ashes of the fire, Both our tender bellies wound in baling wire"
"In our days we will live, like our ghosts will live, pitching glass at the cornfield crows and folding clothes" ~ (Resurrection Fern)
"A beautiful feather floating down, To where the birds had shit on empty chapel pews" ~ (Pagan Angel & A Borrowed Car)
'Carousel' has got to be my absolute favourite song from 'The Shepherd's Dog', it's just absolutely soul-wrenching.
Every part of the compositon is beautiful from the guitar picking to the resonant drums, the vibe-echo sound of Sam's voice, and the lyrics:
"...almost home with an olive branch and a dove, you were beatin' on a Persian rug, with your bible and your wedding band both hidden on a T.V stand"
"...while your grieving girls all died in their sleep, so the dogs all went unfed, a great dream of bones all piled on a bed"
Something about this song brings to mind visions of when I was so young that I can hardly remember ~ vague memories of tall trees & driving in an old car that smelt of leather and wet dogs from a time we let them swim in the river, and sitting amongst the birds my mother kept in an aviary in our backyard.
I thoroughly recommend you all give this album a listen, at least a few times to let the joy settle in... it really is hard to put into words the way some of these songs make you feel, so you might as well attempt to experience it yourself!
I apologise, I am not so good with HTML and all that fancy jazz, so here's a couple of links for you to delve into:
thanks for reading :) keep smiling!