Monday, September 21, 2009

The Shepherd's Dog, Rank #6

(You may have noticed that I skipped Rank #5, which happened to fall to the Beatles Abbey Road album. While I love this album, especially "Something," "Maxwell's Silver Hammer," "Octopus's Garden," "Here Comes the Sun," and the long medley at the end of the album, I cannot fully give it the attention it deserves. Instead, I can heartily recommend the album, and if you need more than that, just re-read this post about the White Album and supplement the aforementioned songs into the linked post. The Beatles are great. Long live the Beatles.)

Iron & Wine has been in the professional music industry since 2002. Iron & Wine is mostly a one-man band, featuring the vast and many talents of Sam Beam as wordsmith and singer, guitarist, banjo player, and any other instruments that may be used. The Shepherd's Dog is Iron & Wine's third studio album, was released in 2007, runs for fifty minutes, and has twelve songs.
Listening to this album is a delight. The opening track, "Boy With A Coin," is nothing short of amazing. The hypnotizing slidings and hammer-ons on the guitar is enough to lure even the strongest-willed man in, and the lyrics are hauntingly beautiful. This song was the first single released off the album, and it remains one of my favorite to play and listen to. Others may recognize "Flightless Bird, American Mouth," as it was the song featured in the prom scene of Twilight. The song is beautiful. One of my favorite tracks is "House By the Sea," which has an exotic rhythm with a captivating story. Truly each song is unique and slightly mysterious, and all are catchy and well performed.

Part of the joy of listening to an Iron & Wine album is the wonderful blend of voice, guitar, and lyric. Sam Beam writes with such poetry that it's hard to understand what he's really talking about, but at the same time you feel what he's talking about. His guitar playing is pleasing to the ears, and his voice is soft and precise enough that it demands attention.

The Shepherd's Dog is my favorite album in the Iron & Wine catalog. It offers a fuller sound than the previous albums, and shows a different portrait of the wonderful band. If you like this album, I recommend checking out some of the EP's that are out (I really like Woman King and The Sea & The Rhythm), as well as the other studio albums. In fact, a new album was just released on iTunes called Around the Well, which sells for $9.99 and contains some of the Iron & Wine contains B-sides and other classics, like my favorite I&W song "The Trapeze Swinger" and "Such Great Heights."

Iron & Wine is a great band to listen to when life needs to slow down, when things are going fast and you want to listen to something easy and soothing. While The Shepherd's Dog is not as soft as other Iron & Wine albums, it is a wonderful album worthy to be listened to.


Crystal said...

Great Review! This is the first album on your list that I'm not familiar with. I'll have to check it out.

Krista said...

What a crazy cover! I've never heard of them before either, and I really like their sound. I'll have to check'em out even further....
Thanks for the video links, very cool!

logankstewart said...

@Crystal: You won't be disappointed.

@Krista: You're welcome, and do check the band out if you like the sound.