Shuffleathon 2007. Part 3

Iron and Wine – Woman King

I didn’t quite get Iron and Wine when I first listened to them. All the signs were good – the reference points referred to in reviews and extracts of songs I had heard all pointed in the right direction namely mellow Americana, a relation of sorts to Will Oldham, downbeat back porch beauty – so I duly went out and bought “The Creek Drank The Cradle” and listened to it and not a lot seemed to be happening. Maybe it was the wrong time of year (I tend to associate different types or pieces of music and even artists with particular seasons and find it hard to relate to some of them outside of that particular time of the year. Yeah, I know. I am mad.) , I don’t know. Then a while later I heard his early demo sessions in full and his version of The Postal Service’s “Such Great Heights” and this and I was won over. I think the most succinct description of Sam Beam’s music is “understated”. But it’s very beautiful. This track actually seems to be the point at which he stopped being quite so introspective and spare and introduced a musical arrangement behind the song – something which he continued to do with last years album “The Shepherd’s Dog” (which is consistently excellent and thoroughly recommended). This track sort of thrums and throbs and gets into your bones, with a fairly chunky acoustic backing which nonetheless does not intrude on the trademark half whispered half sung vocals. I think those vocals are a significant part of Beam’s appeal as they seem to be sung directly into the ear of the listener rather than at an audience. It’s very one to one music. I like him and I like this track very much.

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