Sunday, November 9, 2008

Featured Music - Iron & Wine

Ok, so here's the first installment of "Music That Jerry's Been Digging On Lately And That You Should Try Too"... For lack of a better method, I'll be featuring songs via YouTube, which means that several of them won't even be official videos, but just random user videos. So for the most part, ignore the visual, and concentrate on the audio. Though there will be a few that I feel enhance the music, so I'll be sure to point those out. Also, while I won't be posting any songs with questionable content, if you run across some by an artist I'm featuring, I can't be held liable.

With that out of the way, first up is Iron & Wine.

For the most part, Iron & Wine is the stage name for a bearded, soft-spoken Floridian named Sam Beam. He does tour and record with a band these days, but he'd been doing the solo gig under that name for long before that. Any self-respecting indie kid worth his tight jeans knows I&W well, but I just got turned on about a year ago, and I've been on a major kick as of late. His music (particularly his early work) is the lushest lo-fi you will ever hear. His voice is often a hushed wisper, layered with tight harmonies; and when combined with mellow guitars, lap steel, banjo, and other assorted instruments, it's the most relaxing musical experience ever.

Here are a few songs from his first album, "The Creek Drank the Cradle"

"Faded From The Winter"

"Lion's Mane"

This is just a beautiful song - one of my all-time favorites, "Upward Over The Mountain"

Another absolute favorite from this album is called "Muddy Hymnal" - but there wasn't a great quality video around to post. His second album, "Our Endless Numbered Days," was more of a studio effort, but still retained most of his lo-fi sound.

Here's the official video for "Naked As We Came" (This is a video I enjoy.)

"Free Until They Cut Me Down"

"Each Coming Night"

His latest album is called "The Shepherd's Dog." It's rather large departure from his previous work - utilizing electric guitars and a full band. I'd say it's my least favorite of the three, but it still has some good stuff.

"Pagan Angel And A Borrowed Car"

"Flightless Bird"

"Boy With A Coin" (Another great video.)

In addition to those three full length albums, I&W has put out numerous EPs and singles. Most notably, he covered "Such Great Heights" by The Postal Service for the "Garden State" soundtrack. And pretty much every song on the 6 track "Woman King" EP is just excellent. Here's one of them,


So there you have it. You can find more on YouTube, the official site for Iron & Wine, or at Sub Pop Records. Check it out.