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Music Review: Iron & Wine's latest another step forward

Music Review: Iron & Wine's latest another step forward

Iron & Wine, "Ghost on Ghost" (Nonesuch)

April 19th, 2013 by JAMES H. COLLINS, Associated Press in News

Sam Beam, the South Carolina-born musician who releases music as Iron & Wine, first made his mark with sparsely arranged, mostly acoustic tunes.

Listening to his fifth album "Ghost on Ghost," one could not be faulted for believing it to be the work of a completely different artist. The song arrangements are lush, filled with exquisite horns, crisp funky snare drums, backing vocals, a variety of natural keyboard sounds, and even pedal steel and vibraphone.

Yet Beam has managed to retain that same heartfelt, soulful feeling that brought him so much attention more than a decade ago when he started.

The album opens with "Caught in the Briars," a swinging three-minute ditty, with a charming acoustic guitar line, some lovely organ fills and a horn arrangement that would fit in the finest Van Morrison tune. It's a hell of an opener.

Ghost on Ghost is a wonderfully, produced and assembled record, propelled with joyous momentum even on tracks with darker lyrics like "Low Light Buddy of Mine."

With each successive album, Beam has been able to gradually expand and layer his sound with taste and dexterity.

Online:

http://ironandwine.com