I couldn’t pass up the chance to catch Iron & Wine. Bought tickets fairly late to the sold-out performance, and still managed to get all our seats just three rows from the stage. Mainly singer-songwriter Samuel Ervin Beam, his show in Singapore also featured a full band at the ticketed gig in the night. For the lunchtime private showcase at Straits Clan, it was just him on the guitar.
Sam Beam is touring with the ‘Beast Epic’ band- Elizabeth Goodfellow on drums/percussion, Eliza Jones on keys/organ, Teddy Rankin-Parker on cello, and Sebastian Steinberg on bass. They did mainly newer songs from ‘Beast Epic’ (2017), which was a good album.
It’s a warm and serendipitous time to be reuniting with my Seattle friends because I feel there’s a certain kinship between this new collection of songs and my earliest material, which Sub Pop was kind enough to release. In hindsight, both The Creek Drank the Cradle (2002) and Our Endless Numbered Days (2004) epitomize a reflective and confessional songwriting style (although done with my own ferocious commitment to understatement, of course.) I have been and always will be fascinated by the way time asserts itself on our bodies and our hearts. The ferris wheel keeps spinning and we’re constantly approaching, leaving or returning to something totally unexpected or startlingly familiar. The rite of passage is an image I’ve returned to often because I feel we’re all constantly in some stage of transition. Beast Epic is saturated with this idea but in a different way simply because each time I return to the theme I’ve collected new experiences to draw from. Where the older songs painted a picture of youth moving wide-eyed into adulthood’s violent pleasures and disappointments, this collection speaks to the beauty and pain of growing up after you’ve already grown up. For me, that experience has been more generous in its gifts and darker in its tragedies.
~ Sam Beam’s thoughts in a release announcement for Sub Pop Records in August 2017
I’ve always loved Sam Beam’s vocals, lyrics and melodies in his brand of folk/indie rock. It was very nice to also hear the old songs too. We went back to 2007 with ‘Flightless Bird, American Mouth’, 2003 with ‘Such Great Heights’, and also ‘Bird Stealing Bread’ from the album ‘The Creek Drank the Cradle’ (2002).