Friday, April 22, 2011

Sam is the Man

No, I'm not talking about Dr. Seuss' muse. Sam Beam is the lead singer of Iron & Wine...a recent discovery of mine. He's been around for over a decade carefully creating his own orchestra of extraordinarily-talented musicians, including 2 backup singers, a banjo & mandolinist, a keyboardist, a percussionist, a drummer, a trombonist, a saxophonist, 2 guitarists. Although after Wednesday's (4/20) performance at Rams Head Live in Baltimore, the crowd seemed more intrigued by the lead singer. Everyone chanting "Sam's the man!" and "Sam, you rock!" made me realize that Sam is more than just a lead singer; he's the conductor of the Iron & Wine symphony.

A few songs from the new album, Kiss Each Other Clean, I could recognize because they colored within the lines. The rest, however, were unique spinoffs from The Shepherd's Dog, Our Endless Days Are Numbered, and Woman King; Sam improvising with octaves, instruments, lyrics, instrumentals. Keeping the experience new and exciting for anyone and everyone - for those who have followed them since their first EP to the present or for those who are seeing them for the first time (which was in my case). I caught myself with closed eyes, swaying back and forth, to focus on each musician, each instrument, each strum, each note, each octave by itself. They all stood so beautifully on their own. When I'd open my eyes, I was  in a sea of people that were all swaying like the tide. I was home.

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