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Iron and Wine Play New Material at Secret Show

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Last night, Beam seemed energized to play the new material, even if the crowd was a little stiff. “Well, I’m happy to be here,” he said early on, countering the uncomfortable silence. Later, he sarcastically urged, “Seriously guys, shut the fuck up!” and another time busted out his funniest line, “Everybody take off your dancing shoes for a second – I know how you New Yorkers are. I don’t even know what that means.”

If the reaction wasn’t great, the songs were. “Half Moon” had the band singing giant in-your-face doo-wop harmonies while “Monkeys Uptown” had Beam playing electric guitar over a drum track, funky bass and spacey, bubbling synth effects. Its rhythm exploded and faded, leaving Beam bouncing off chunky wah-wah riffs with guitarist Jim Becker.

The set continued the chaotic sax-heavy EP track “Summer in Savannah,” the eerie “Rabbit Will Run" and “Me and Lazerous,” full of thudding, funky percussion run through synth’s on the album. “We’d put mikes on drums and run it through some pedals and tweak it out,” Beam says. “It gives the percussion a different life when it sounds like a ray gun from Star Wars.”

Beam ended with his 2007 single “Boy with a Coin,” playing it on a reverb-heavy electric guitar. Though Shepherd's Dog was a hit with critics, Beam isn’t feeling any pressure. “I went to art school for college and I got used to criticism pretty fast,” he says. “You’re gonna do what you are gonna do. If you keep working consistently, you end up with all these tunes. So you see which ones you got in your bag and which ones you feel like working on and developing.”
 
Setlist:
Tree By The River
Half Moon
Monkeys Uptown
Big Burned Hand
Glad Man Singing
Summer In Savannah
Godless Brother In Love
Rabbit Will Run
Me And Lazarus
Boy With A Coin
 
Sam Beam - guitar, vocal
Jim Becker - guitar, mandolin, banjo, fiddle, backing vocal
Stuart Bogie - saxophone, clarinet, flute
Matt Lux - bass
Joe Adamik - drums
Ben Massarella - percussion
Rosie Thomas - backing vocals
Nick Luca - keys

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Song Stories

“Try a Little Tenderness”

Otis Redding | 1966

This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

More Song Stories entries »
 
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