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Iron and Wine: The Shepherd's Dog preview

Nothing about Iron & Wine's music has ever been revolutionary, nothing about Sam Beam's songwriting hasn't been done before. With a voice ancient and balmy as an ocean breeze, Sam Beam always struck closest to my heart when he told stories - it's no wonder that my favorite Iron & Wine song is "Jesus the Mexican Boy." Our Endless Numbered Days (2005) was an album obsessed with mothers, God, lovers, and what happens when the world goes wrong. The past lived within the present, and Sam Beam's imagination was clearly obsessed with the possibilities of a troubled Southern past with songs like "Free Until They Cut Me Down" and "Sodom, South Georgia."

With most of the Shepherd's Dog sitting on my computer and the Boy with a Coin single in my hand, I wonder where those obsessions have gone. Are they still there hiding in Iron and Wine's music? I'm not sure.

What I can tell you is this: with the Shepherd's Dog, I get the sense that Sam Beam has metaphorically placed his voice and Iron & Wine's instrumentation on an anvil and hammered it to perfection. The sapless quality of the vocals is gone, and while I miss the prominence of the guitar and lo-fi feel of older Iron & Wine recordings, I think the change is for the better.

Iron & Wine - Boy with a Coin (single)
Iron & Wine - Resurrection Fern (The Shepherd's Dog)
Iron & Wine - Jesus the Mexican Boy

The Shepherd's Dog will be released on September 25th.
Buy the Boy with a Coin single from Insound

Iron & Wine tour dates - all of these are in the UK in October

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