Greenwich residents get a chance to see Iron and Wine1 May 2013 9:49 AM
Songwriter Sam Beam has spent the last decade transforming himself into one of the most critically acclaimed modern folk singers in America, and it appears that he may have finally arrived. When the South Carolina-raised singer performs at the Capitol Theatre on May 19, he will be doing so as the man behind half a dozen highly praised albums and as an award-winning live performer who regularly draws large, diverse crowds.
Beam, who is better known by his stage name Iron and Wine, took a winding and relatively untraveled path to music stardom. For many years, he taught film and cinematography at the University of Miami. It wasn't until he released the fuzzy, folk-soaked album The Creek Drank the Cradle in 2002 that he came to the attention of music fans - and even then his fan base was small.
However, in the ensuing decade, Beam has become widely regarded as one of modern folk's most daring and creative practitioners.
Initially mining the vein of soft-spoken folk practiced successfully by musicians like Nick Drake, Simon and Garfunkel and others, Beam ultimately opened up his sound, incorporating more instruments and a denser musical style. Instead of jettisoning his introspective folk approach, however, Beam stuck with his straightforward storytelling style, simply embellishing it with a fuller sound and dragging it into a wider array of genres.
The result has been much praised. In a recent review for Beam's newest album, Ghost on Ghost, released this spring, Ally Carnwath, a music critic for The Guardian, called the album one of Beam's greatest achievements and a further refinement of his form.
"Vigorously polished, unrepentant in its use of syrupy lounge staples - pianos tinkle unobtrusively, backing singers coo - and suave in its mastery of its chosen style, [Ghost on Ghost] still teems with ideas and smuggles in lyrical barbs among the sumptuous melodies," Carnwath wrote.
Although his studio albums have all been well-received, Beam remains widely regarded as an expert performer and showman. Owners of Greenwich real estate who attend the upcoming show will be treated to an intimate evening that features Beam's iconic voice and his excellent songwriting. The show, which is in nearby Port Chester, NY, is one of the first since the release of Beam's newest album and will certainly be a great opportunity for longtime fans and recent converts to familiarize themselves with Beam's most recent songs.