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October 26, 2007

{     Iron and Wine "The Shepherd's Dog"     }    


As quickly as the yellow and orange leaves have started to pile up in my yard, fall is upon us. With every change in season it seems that my internal musical desire center updates my ears with the sounds it deems essential for the new change in temperature. With the days getting darker earlier and the trees turning bare, the musical soundscapes that fill my headphone have turned along with the leaves. Autumn tends to bring to mind solitude and solemness but not in a downtrodden way. The muted earth tone patchwork of beauty that fills my eyes when I look into the hills surrounding me seems to be a readymade visual interpretation of “The Sheppard’s Dog”, Sam Beam’s third album.

With this album we find Mr. Beam joining a group of musicians to flesh out his now almost legendary singer/songwriter formula into something that transcends the worries that some had about him taking on a more band oriented structure. Rather than the skeletal lattice work of vocal harmonies and acoustic guitar layers we have come to know and love, Sam Beam found a group of musicians that flesh out that skeleton but also stay true to the heart tugging melodies and delicateness that made Iron and Wine what it was and now what it has become. As soon as the opening notes of “Pagan Angel and a Borrowed Car” hit your eardrums you know that this album rings true. Treading the line between melancholy and joy with its lyrics and tones, this opening track washes away your fears of Iron and Wine’s new direction and makes you eagerly anticipate the rest of the album. While on the topic of new directions, be sure to listen to “Wolves (Song of the Shepherd's Dog)”. With its layers of echo, homemade percussion, and swelling chords it accomplishes a moodiness and feel that shows what’s possible when Sam Beam gets together with a group of likeminded individuals hell bent on making his vision come true.

The rest of the album is filled with songs that you’ll love so much that you want to share them with everyone because you truly feel this thing is a universal truth, undeniable. So once again Mr. Beam, you make me sad I ever tried to be a musician, but at least I have something to listen to while I pout.

     » Buy "The Shepherd's Dog" on


I don't care who hates me for it, I can honestly say that I like this album better than the previous two.

I think I've always wanted a fuller sound from him, and I know I'll catch hell for this, but his other efforts just came across as a bit pretentious (with the exception of a few notable and amazing tracks).

I'm pretty much digging this all the way through.

Posted by: Adam at October 26, 2007 9:50 PM
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