If I don’t seem to be writing that much about music here lately, it’s only because I’ve been doing it elsewhere. Below, you will find links to two pieces I recently wrote on Iron and Wine. Those with a long memory of this blog, might recall this post: From the Archives: Iron and Wine + tour and new album news, Part 1 of 2.
I was probably Samuel Beam’s first interview, just after he signed a recording contract with the esteemed Seattle-based record label Sub Pop. It’s all documented in the post above, including stuff I originally felt a bit too sorry about sharing in my first profile about him, when he was but a lowly novice live performer (he kept fumbling songs during a private showcase for Sub Pop’s president and Modest Mouse’s Isaac Brock). But that no longer matters. In fact, the anecdote now has a certain charm as Beam has achieved a level of fame neither of us had anticipated. Yet, when we caught up after a recent show, he still called me a friend and seemed as personable and modest as I remembered him.
During our most interview, it just felt like we were catching up on old times. I was not given much room in print, but this profile I wrote for the Broward/Palm Beach and Miami New Times publications covered a nice amount of ground. It reflects on both that early embarrassing showcase and how his sound has evolved over the many years since. You can read the resulting story by jumping through the New Times’ music blog logo for “County Grind” below:
Then it was off to watch his performance. I believe the night had sold out (it sure seemed crowded enough), and Beam brought an amazing sense of humor to set off his austere music. He also knows how to push an acoustic guitar to its limits without gimmicks, subtly adding variety to his songs. But what really made the night feel too short was his interaction with the audience. After the show, while we talked, he reiterated his love for the audience that night, saying it was so much fun. You can read my totally biased but not inaccurate review of that night’s show at Fort Lauderdale’s Culture Room by jumping through the image shot by New Times photographer Ian Witlen: