Chattanooga, TN – Iron and Wine (Free lunch for Thursday, Jan 16)
By Sean Phipps
Thursday's Free Lunch offers listeners something new to swallow with the introduction of Iron and Wine, a cinematographer with a touch of acoustic musicianship. Although the title of "Iron and Wine" may be a peculiar way to present one's self; Sam Beam has no problem with the alias. Beam discovered the unique word combination at a store in South Georgia, according to a recent article in Mojo magazine. "...There was this protein supplement called something like Beef-Iron and Wine," Beam said. "It struck me as a strange combination of words, so it stuck. Fearing that the title of "Beef-Iron and Wine" would be too much, Beam opted to omit the word "Beef."
Beam's first album "The Creek Drank The Cradle" is an acoustically charged journey through some very intimate and personal revelations. As one of my colleagues wrote, "[Beam] sounds like he made this album at 4 a.m. on the Louisiana bayou right after he was dumped by his girlfriend." Add some psychedelic mushrooms and a knack for catchy lyrics, the end result is the 12 tracks on "The Creek Drank The Cradle." It's interesting to not that "The Creek Drank The Cradle" was recorded using only a 4 track tape recorder, a bevy of acoustical instruments (i.e. guitar, banjo), and Beam's haunting voice which provides a solid backbone for the album.
The defining song on the album is "Southern Anthem," a catchy melody with, what I like to call, a "sway-ability" that so many recent songs are lacking. "Southern Anthem" certainly fits the bill as a song that rings in your ears long after the last chord is strummed. Other songs like "Angry Blade" and "Weary Memory" stand out on the album as keepers though some songs are just too depressing for the casual listener.
Overall, Beam's (Iron and Wine) first solo release is about as hauntingly genuine of an album as you could find. His voice is pleasant, but not piercing or domineering. The simple instrumentation and melancholy lyrics make "The Creek Drank The Cradle" a unique and amiable surprise.