Iron & Wine, the work of Austin-based Sam Beam, released their fourth album, Kiss Each Other Clean through 4AD in January 2011. Somewhat of a departure from earlier recordings and representing an expansion of the ideas explored on last album The Shepherd's Dog, the record saw Beam's often stripped-back compositions development into ornate arrangements/ Live performances also saw Beam joined by a cast of musicians, helping flesh out his sound.
For this beautifully rendered 4AD Session, Beam made the conscious decision to return to his roots. Taking those album tracks back to their nascent form, Beam delivered five acoustic performances that immediately make clear the craft and care that constitutes each Iron & Wine track. Pushed to the fore is Beam's languorous vocals, showcasing the seemingly effortless ease with which he is able to imbibe his music with a nuanced poetry.
Filmed at Miloco Recording Studios in Bermondsey in March 2011, the location proved truly fitting of the performance. Beam found himself surrounded by an array of vintage analogue equipment, a perfect compliment to the down-home wood-and twine classic songwriting that has continued to characterize the work of Iron & Wine over the course of four albums. Playing four songs from the new album, long time fans will also note the inclusion of the 'Upwards Over The Mountain', a track drawn from the band's much-loved back catalogue.
The session provides a neat precursor to when Iron & Wine return to the UK in October, playing an acoustic show at Hackney Empire on 9th. Before then, there will be a full band performance on the main stage at Latitude on 17th July and headline Green Man on 21st August, serving to highlight the broad talents of Iron & Wine.
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The 4AD Sessions are an ongoing series of video recordings with various acts from the label's roster. Following on from the Deerhunter session at the Studio Plateaux on Platts Eyott island in 2008, the recordings will see 4AD artists performing back-catalogue covers and alternative versions of their own material.