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Iron And Wine
Archive Series Volume No. 1

Iron And Wine — Archive Series Volume No. 1 (February 24, 2015)

       Iron And Wine — Archive Series Volume No. 1Iron And Wine — Archive Series Volume No. 1 (February 24, 2015)♦   Archive Series Volume No. 1 is a rarities collection by Iron & Wine, released February 24, 2015 on Beam's new record label Black Cricket Recording Co. The collection consists of unreleased home recordings and demos from the same time period as the 2002 album The Creek Drank the Cradle and the 2003 EP The Sea & The Rhythm. “Everyone’s Summer of ‘95” was the first track to be officially released from the album.
♦   Singer/songwriter Sam Beam and his lo–fi one–man folk band released several acclaimed albums before adding more ornate arrangements.
Birth name: Samuel Beam
Born: July 26, 1974, Chapin, South Carolina, United States
Instruments: Vocals, guitar, banjo, piano, percussion, synthesizers, bass guitar
Location:
Album release: February 24, 2015
Record Label: Black Cricket Recording Co.
N°.: # BC001
Duration:     61:34
Tracks:
01. Slow Black River      2:27
02. The Wind Is Low      3:32
03. Eden      2:43
04. Two Hungry Blackbirds      5:08
05. Freckled Girl      2:44
06. Judgement      5:40
07. Sing Song Bird      1:44
08. Beyond the Fence      6:40
09. Quarters in a Pocket      3:51
10. Loretta      2:54
11. Everyone’s Summer of ‘95      3:10
12. Minor Piano Keys      5:17
13. Your Sly Smile      3:21
14. Halfway to Richmond      5:20
15. Wade Across the Water      2:04
16. Postcard      4:50
Personnel:
♦   Sam Beam — vocals, guitar, banjo
Credits:
♦   Gavin Ashworth Photography
♦   Sam Beam Art Direction, Composer, Design, Engineer
♦   Howard Greynolds Liner Notes
♦   Heads of State Art Direction, Design
♦   EJ Holowicki Mastering Engineer
♦   Tim Isler Transfer Engineer
♦   Anders Lindall Liner Notes
♦   Steve Orlando Mastering Engineer
♦   John Parnell Photography
Awards:
♦   Billboard Albums
♦   2015 Archive Series, Volume no. 1 Top Independent Albums      #26
♦   2015 Archive Series, Volume no. 1 Top Modern Rock/Alternative Albums      #17
♦   2015 Archive Series, Volume no. 1 Top Rock Albums      #38 
Review by Fred Thomas, Score:  ***½
♦   As Iron & Wine, songwriter Samuel Beam became an icon of rustic indie folk, his soft–spoken songs full of still, wistful country imagery and lovelorn emotions always tuneful enough to sit well beside the various mild–mannered indie rock bands that became his contemporaries as he spanned over a decade of recording and touring.    The roots of Iron & Wine began when Beam was attending film school in the late '90s, quietly recording acoustic demos of his beautifully mumbly songs on a borrowed four–track. These demos circulated and eventually the best of the tracks were assembled as Iron & Wine's 2002 Sub Pop Records debut, The Creek Drank the Cradle. The project's overnight success would lead to an accelerated development for Beam, his muse quickly shifting to more professionally recorded albums and changes in style over the years toward electric folk–rock and even forays into traditional African and Mexican arrangements as backdrops for his songs. There remained a special magic to those early recordings, however, the ones that sounded almost secretive or absolutely convinced they’d never be heard by anyone aside from the person creating them.    Archive Series, Vol. 1 reaches back to the lo–fi recordings from the late '90s and early aughts that resulted in that gorgeously hushed debut, sharing 16 previously unreleased tracks from the same era. While sometimes a little light on relatable stories or characters, Beam’s songs always succeed in perfectly capturing a vibe, and the outtakes and sketches of Archive Series, Vol. 1 fall in line with the vaguely pastoral feel of the earliest albums. “Everyone’s Summer of ‘95” is a standout, Beam’s multi–tracked vocal harmonies and gently fingerpicked acoustic guitar conjuring up sentiments of faceless nostalgia and thoughts of lost friendships. Elements of nature, pained love, and longing touch almost every song from a distance, from the loping banjo flourishes of "Slow Black River" to the campfire folk progression of "Quarters in a Pocket." Some of the references to antiquated themes of country life may come off a little precious to the uninitiated, but anyone who was spoken to by the low–lit intimacy of The Creek Drank the Cradle should seek out Archive Series, Vol. 1 as a perfect companion piece to that album and as deeper look into what must have been an incredibly inspired and productive time for the young songwriter.
Artist Biography by James Christopher Monger
♦   Singer/songwriter Samuel Beam, who rose to prominence with a blend of whispered vocals and softly homespun indie folk, chose the moniker Iron & Wine after coming across a dietary supplement named "Beef Iron & Wine" while working on a film. Raised in South Carolina, Beam received his bachelor's degree in art from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond and later his Master of Fine Arts degree from Florida State University Film School. Although Beam would later expand his sound to include electric instruments and rich, lush textures, he was firmly exploring the former style when several of his lo–fi recordings caught the ear of Jonathan Poneman, co–owner of Sub Pop Records. The songs had been recorded in Beam's bedroom without the aid of studio flourishes, but Poneman nevertheless requested that additional material be sent to the label for submission, and Beam responded by sending two CDs in the mail — both of them full–length albums. Poneman considered releasing them both, but instead slimmed down the set to 12 songs and released it in September 2002 as The Creek Drank the Cradle. The similarly themed The Sea & the Rhythm EP followed in 2003.
♦   It was Beam's 2004 full–length, Our Endless Numbered Days, that signaled his arrival on the indie pop scene. Recorded in Chicago with producer Brian Deck, the album was resolutely hi–fi, but the addition of a full band only illuminated Beam's deft lyricism and intimate vocal delivery, resulting in one of the most critically acclaimed albums of the year. Late 2004 found the newly marketable Iron & Wine popping up on television commercials and movie soundtracks (In Good Company, Garden State), culminating in a busy 2005 that saw Beam release two EPs, the lush Woman King and In the Reins, a collaboration with Arizona spaghetti Western aficionados Calexico. The politically charged Shepherd's Dog, Beam and company's most diverse — and most listenable — record to date, was released in 2007. A two–disc collection of B–sides, rarities, soundtrack inclusions, and discarded tracks from the Iron & Wine archives called Around the Well arrived in early 2009. Kiss Each Other Clean, Iron & Wine's first collection of new music in nearly three years and one that found Beam further expanding the group's sound, was released in January 2011 by their new label, Warner Bros. After a move to 4AD and Nonesuch, Iron & Wine released the more relaxed and intimate Ghost on Ghost in early 2013. The Brian Deck-produced album featured jazz drummer Brian Blade and bassist Tony Garnier of Bob Dylan's band, among others.
Personal life:
♦   Beam, his wife Kim, and their five daughters live in Durham, North Carolina. He was raised in the Bible belt as a Christian, but is now an agnostic: “That was a confusing time for me, but I don’t miss being misled. I’m not an atheist. There’s an undeniable unseen world that some people call God and think they know more about than other people. I try not to get hung up on the names.”
♦   In 2011, a portrait of Beam was painted by British artist Joe Simpson. The painting was exhibited around the UK, including in a solo exhibition at The Royal Albert Hall.
Website: http://www.ironandwine.com/
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Iron And Wine
Archive Series Volume No. 1

 

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