Iron & Wine
So this new Iron & Wine single ‘Walking Far From Home’ has been on almost non-stop rotation just lately in the kitchen here. It’s a head scratcher and no mistake. I made the mistake of playing the B-sides first for some reason, I know not why. Friends, if y’all want to wait on the full album release you ain’t missing nothing there, an ill advised lite funk backing and some disturbing saxophone. Still, ya gots to say he’s still trying new things. Could be as how this coloured my response to the A-side. It has won me over but I’m still kinda fascinated as to how, y’see it is perilous close to being some cod-epic singer songwriter rubbish that’d make me scream and yet he walks right on up to the very edge of that hole and somehow he don’t fall in it. It has a broad canvas, a soaring melody and that kind of melancholy but hopeful feel that could make it a big fat ol’ christmas hit. No kidding, pump up those backing singers to a choir, bring the vibes up in the mix, a few sleigh bells here and there. I think what saves it is his way with words, like most Iron & Wine songs it’s a sack stuffed full with wonderful images and great turns of phrase. Sam’s been walking far fom home and he’s noticed some stuff – a world where pistol waving prisoner’s invite you to join them in song, prayers grow like weeds along the roadside and naked dancers speak for us all. You should invite this song into yer home.
I don’t mean to give the impression with all that ramblin’ an blather that this is even one of his better tunes, it ain’t. This has took me back to listenin’ to his record with Calexico and this recent listenin’ to a lot of both of them has brought to me the notion that, firstly ‘In The Reins’ is probably my favourite Calexico record, the one I listen to most. By the same measure it seems I didn’t really like ‘The Shepherd’s Dog’ all that much ‘cos I never play it no more, although ‘Resurrection Fern’ is a thing of rare beauty – so here’s a live version he done for radio. Here also, from the Calexico tour is their glorious cover of Willie’s ‘Always On My Mind’ and a reading of ‘Prison on Route 41’ recorded for Tucson radio that features Joey Burns on vocals instead of Sam Beam, doesn’t make a whole lot of difference, it’s still wonderful. Lastly, while Sam Beam is a striking looking feller with a beard to house a flock of birds I couldn’t find a photo I was happy with, still no worry – they came up with some real nice posters on that tour so here’s a few of them.