Last January, we hosted Sam Beam (aka Iron & Wine) in Abilene as the headline artist of our annual Live At The Paramount art series. It was a big deal. Not only was it the first time Sam had been to Abilene, but it was the first time he’d toured in several months. It was also the first time our city hosted a ground breaking emerging artist in the last several years. The house was packed, which was something a lot of people didn’t expect. It turned many of our residents on to a style of music they didn’t know existed. That was a big deal.
Add to that, we had just tabled the votes for our 2009 Appetizer Golden Fork Awards (going on right now, vote here for this year’s winners). The winner for best song was this unknown track found on Calexico’s “In The Reins” release titled 16, Maybe Less. Most people hadn’t heard it before but I’d featured it a lot over the course of ’09 and it had been a pretty big hit with listeners. They voted for it and it won. For the first year, we made actual Golden Fork trophies, which I got to present to Sam in person. That was a big deal. Since then The Appetizer has featured a lot of his popular songs and many of his unknown gems. We’re proud of that.
Today his latest release hit stores and the online market. It’s called Kiss Each Other Clean. It’s hard to describe it in I&W terms because the overal sound is a bit different than his previous musical excursions. It’s like a great soup in a way. There’s different components to it that makes the album as a whole shine in ways that albums in his past didn’t. He has broadened his spread in terms of the styles used in composition. The song Lean Into The Light has a Mayer Hawthorne feel to it, a combo old fashioned R&B with a lounge feel to it. The album swims along with a combo bee-bop/folk tune titled Half Moon. It’s pure Iron & Wine later in the album with the song Godless Brother In Love with both the way Sam presents the story in melody and voice.
All in all, I love it. If you’re vaguely familiar with Sam’s work or an ardent follower, Kiss Each Other Clean is destined to be worth picking up. Savor each track delicately, and feel free to comment here on what your favorite songs from the album are.