Iron & Wine
Ghost On Ghost
Carolina-born former art school professor Sam Beam aka Iron & Wine started his music career over a decade ago making whispery Southern bedroom folk for all to enjoy being pegged as the modern-day Nick Drake, but since his first few albums, Beam has shape-shifted as well as any modern musician tagged with a label. On 2005’s Woman King EP, Beam picked up the pace a bit with a frantic bluegrass spirit that held it all together. The Shephard’s Dog followed, which I still believe to be his masterpiece, went in an astounding range of musical directions, from muddy blues to dub reggae to romantic calypso all held together by Beam’s beautiful voice and songwriting. Finally his last album, Kiss Each Other Clean found Beam turned from Nick Drake to Steely Dan: a polished, jazz-influenced soft rock sound that worked surprisingly well with his voice. Now, his latest, Ghost On Ghost, picks up where Kiss Each Other Clean left off but here, Beam takes the soft-rock smooth jazz sound to a new extreme which unfortunately smooths out some of the rough lo-fi edges that made his music so interesting in the first place.