IRON & WINE Tickets
Iron & Wine returns to Europe and the UK in November for a career spanning solo tour.
Iron & Wine is the musical project of Sam Beam, a South Carolina-born former film studies lecturer, now living in Texas. A painter also, Beam’s roots in the visual arts signpost the refined and somber storytelling that weaves throughout his music. With a softly spoken delivery conveying a certain cinematic gravitas, Beam conjures wonderfully evocative narratives rich in downhome symbolism and vivid characterization.
Despite the immediately sophisticated nature of his songwriting, Beam’s first forays into music mainly existed in isolation, his music only coming to the attention of the wider world when a home-recorded track was featured on a covermount CD free with Yeti magazine. Although Beam would later expand his sound to include electric instruments and rich, lush textures, it was his early lo-fi recordings that caught the ear of Jonathan Poneman, co-owner of Sub Pop Records, resulting in the release of debut album The Creek Drank the Cradle in September 2002. That same year, Iron & Wine were to gather a plethora of new fans when Beam's tender and spare rendering of The Postal Service's 'Such Great Heights' was featured on the Garden State soundtrack. Building on the already weighty critical reception, second album, Our Endless Numbered Days further refined Iron & Wine’s sound, developing a homespun style now characteristic of the band. Recorded in Chicago with producer Brian Deck, the addition of a full band served to illuminate Beam's deft lyricism and intimate vocal delivery. This was shortly followed by 2005’s Woman King EP, and In the Reins, a collaboration with alt country band, Calexico.
In 2007, Iron & Wine released the casually atmospheric The Shepherd’s Dog, which debuted at No. 24 on Billboard’s Top 200 Album chart and earned praise from critics hailing it as a major musical leap forward. Fleshed out and replete with more ornate arrangements than previous long players, The Shepherd’s Dog saw Iron & Wine ease into the mainstream, assisted in part by the presence of album track ‘Flightless Bird, American Mouth’ in the Twilight at the request of actor Kristen Stewart.
2011 saw Iron & Wine sign with 4AD for the release of his fourth studio album, Kiss Each Other Clean, outside North America. The trademark hushed vocals and plaintive acoustic guitar of Sam Beam remained, this time complimented by multi-layered productions and a greater rhythmical sophistication. This progression is in part attributable to a backing band of seven. Despite this swell in personnel, the songs retained the ornate elegance long associated with Iron & Wine, but were stretched in new directions. Debuting at an impressive No. 2 on Billboard’s Top 200 Album chart, it served to underline the unique songwriting talent of Sam Beam and his continued development as an artist.
His next album, Ghost on Ghost, followed only two years later, captured in New York with producer and longtime associate Brian Deck (Modest Mouse, Califone, Fruit Bats). Helping to achieve Beam’s vision were a group of stellar musicians including Rob Burger of Tin Hat Trio, Steve Bernstein, Tony Scherr, Kenny Wollesen, and Briggan Krauss of Sex Mob, jazz drummer Brian Blade, trombonist Curtis Fowlkes of the Jazz Passengers, bassist Tony Garnier (Bob Dylan's band), cellist Marika Hughes, Maxim Moston and Doug Wieselman of Antony and the Johnsons, and Anja Wood. Burger (Tin Hat Trio) has worked with Beam intermittently through the years and handled arrangements for strings and horns on Ghost on Ghost. Released to near universal acclaim; Uncutrated the album nine out of ten, calling it "sublime ... a work of immense beauty and scale," while The Guardian said “Iron and Wine have risen to become one of the great modern American bands as quietly and stealthily as any of their songs.” It also earned five-star reviews from The Mail on Sunday, The Independent on Sunday, and The Daily Telegraph.