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Iron and Wine - Archive Series Volume No. 1

by Kevin Wierzbicki

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It's been more than 10-years now that Sam Beam has been recording and releasing music as Iron and Wine so it's no surprise that there's material lying around that fans really haven't heard. Beam intends to change that, beginning with this 16-track set of unreleased songs that were created before he broke out as Iron and Wine. There's not much of a disconnect though; these songs were written and recorded at about the same time as The Creek Drank the Cradle, the Iron and Wine debut, and the collection is being promoted as a companion piece to that record. Fans should have no problem with that; the album is packed with songs done in Beam's familiar vocal style, all breathless poignancy and understatement, as highlighted by the gentle "Two Hungry Blackbirds," "Beyond the Fence" and "Freckled Girl" where Beam's introspection mingles nicely with a feeling of joy that he rarely displays. Beam also shows a little love for Harvest-era Neil Young; if you didn't know better "Slow Black River" could be a cover of something from that highly-influential classic. And while Beam's guitar playing is crisp and precise throughout, it is his banjo work on songs like "Quarters in a Pocket" that really stands out. Iron and Wine fans should eat this early stuff up, and with this set being labeled Volume No. 1, there's likely more to be looked forward to.

Get your copy here.

Iron and Wine - Archive Series Volume No. 1
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