Iron and Wine

There's a metaphor somewhere in Sam Beam's hair. Something that equates his newly expansive locks with the richer, full-bodied sound he now peddles as Iron and Wine. Something that correlates the furtive minimalism of his early recordings (done while he was teaching film at FSU and Miami International University of Art & Design) with the shorn look he had at the time. Meditating on a musician's hair is a little Teen Beat, but Beam has marked a clear division between his early period and his current phase, and his head tells only part of the story. Beam has a new home (in Austin, rather than Florida), new bandmates, and a more fully colored-in musical approach, displayed on the new Iron and Wine album, The Shepherd's Dog, where he and his new collaborators eschew the acoustic, front-porch minimalism of earlier Iron and Wine and make richly textured soundscapes built around Beam's unusual song structures. The live presentation focuses on the effect of the ensemble, but Beam is still the center of attention; with that hair, how could he not be?

 
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