Over the years, Iron & Wine has (d)evolved into this overgrown jam-band entity that grosses me out and makes me sad — but it was not always this way! There was a time when Sam Beam was just a man with an acoustic guitar, a four-track recorder, a flourishing beard, and America’s most comforting whisper. The Creek Drank The Cradle was more than a decade ago, and by now its rustic lo-fi folk songs qualify as modern classics even though Beam’s more recent musical endeavors leave something to be desired. That makes him a lot like Neil Young, whose “Albuquerque” shows up on the second installment of Iron & Wine’s DIY-era Archive Series. Whereas the first release was a full album’s worth of acoustic rarities, this one’s a 7″ single backed by Beam’s cover of the Four Tops’ “It’s The Same Old Song.” Beam presents the Young cover in the hushed, soothing style that defined Iron & Wine’s early work, capping it off with banjo plucking and a carefree whistle. Even though Young wrote this tune, Beam’s reading turns it into something unmistakably his own. Listen below.
Archive Series Volume No. 2 is out 10/16 on Black Cricket. Pre-order it here.