Thursday, November 13, 2008

iron and wine

Music is the force that drives me. I am never without it. If I'm not listening to it, I'm making it. If I'm not making it, I wish I was. When I drive to work in the morning I depend on it to sing along with to keep me sane for the ten hours before I can get back in the car, roll down the windows, and sing again. When I sit in my little chair in the office, I never go more than an hour without headphones on. I am an addict. It's what keeps me going. I'm okay with that. Now, with that said...

Out of all the amazing musicians available to sample in this modern world I have one favorite - Iron and Wine. There are just a handful of albums out there, maybe five or so, but I doubt there's a song of his I don't know by heart. Those cds have been the soundtrack of my adult life. Starting with the summer of 2004 when I went to a small concert in Philadelphia. It was there I heard the Trapeze Swinger for the first time (hands down my favorite song of all time) and it was also the first time I ever cried alongside 500 strangers. The entire place was brought to tears by that one honest song. Makes me shake, that.

Since that day I've never gone anywhere without his music. Which in my case means most of this country. Those songs held my hand through Tennessee, plodded along the Smoky mountains I hummed tunes off the Sea and the Rhythm. I was listening to Passing Afternoon when I first drove cross country alone (which is in that video above), and came around a corner to see the Rocky Mountains for the first time. It was the wafting verses of Sodom South Georgia that were laughed through while I planted my first garden. Upward Over the Mountain is the song I sing with all I have to friends at campfires. I want to whisper Faded through the Winter to someone I love so much it hurts everytime I hear it. That is a song meant for whispering fast to lovers. Damnit.

I own many of Sam Beam's Albums on vinyl, because it feels better to hear it on a record player. Yes, you can still buy records from new artists for those old turntables. Dust them off and go buy The Creek Drank the Cradle right now.

Iron and Wine's songs are without time or consequences. They have no interest in being trendy, light, or reaching a wide audience. The lyrics are biting, raw and poetic - the emotion behind it rusted and naked. The music is an old front porch in rainy autumn, with pealing white paint and a candle in a mason jar. I can’t really explain it but the words of Resurrection Fern (the link below), could have been written a hundred years ago deep in the Carolina hollers, but are sang in clubs in Miami and Boston instead. The saws and slides, the simple guitar strumming, the almost annoying lack of fiddles...

I’m not saying you should like it. I’m not even saying you should listen to it. But I am asking you to buy it. If you like me give it a try, if you dislike me buy it anyway and break it with a short-handled ax for spite. I just want him to keep making music. It scoops me up. And I am a girl who desperately needs to be scooped up from time to time.

Also, I dig his beard.

listen to him


Blogger EJ said...

You might also like Josh Ritter (from Idaho!). You can listen on

November 13, 2008 at 9:54 PM  
Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...

i saw josh ritter live in sandpoint at their annual summer music festval last year! He was great! His song Idaho, is a favorite of mine.

November 14, 2008 at 5:19 AM  
Blogger s said...

yes to everything in this post.

seriously, his music just does something to me. it's good for every day, every mood, every occasion, everything ever.

November 14, 2008 at 10:22 AM  
Blogger Julie said...

I know this is very untimely, but I've been reading your blog for some time and decided to go back and catch up on what I missed here and there. I just had to write, though, to tell you that that concert in Philly--that very same concert--was me and my now-husband's first date. We were among those people crying along with you. Iron and Wine, they do magical things.

September 27, 2011 at 12:50 AM  

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