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The Shepherd’s Dog begs for attention

October 2, 2010

Iron and Wine's solo artist, Sam Beam, is a singer, producer, instrumentalist and song writer.

By Holly Meyer, Staff Writer

Iron and Wine’s album, The Shepherd’s Dog, is probably one of the band’s most popular, even though it was released in September of 2007. Their music has been heard on the hit TV series Grey’s Anatomy, House and the first movie in the Twilight saga.

According to Sam Beam, the solo artist of Iron and Wine, his music is considered to be sub-pop, although his critics would label it as folk-rock. For me, it is hard to put a label on Iron and Wine. There is definitely a distinctive folk feel to his music, but it is also very rhythmic, and it intrigues the mind through clever use of metaphoric words and riddled phrases.

Furthering his originality is the fact that Sam Beam is a one man show. He is his own producer, singer, instrumentalist and song writer.

Beam incorporates a number of instruments like the acoustic guitar, banjo, drums and violin. His creativity is further influenced by his degree in art at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. He also graduated from Florida State University Film School, and he was a professor of film and cinematography at the University of Miami.

The name “Iron and Wine” came from a dietary supplement called “Beef Iron & Wine” that Beam had stumbled across when shooting a movie in a grocery store.

Iron and Wine is very lyrically driven, using cryptic words and phrases that illustrate a clear desire to send cryptic messages. It’s very apparent that each song is intentionally left open for interpretation.

The song that stood out to me the most on this album was “Pagan Angel and a Borrowed Car.” I have listened to this song several times as I did with most of the songs on this album, and I have yet to understand the connection between the titles and the songs.

“The Shepherds’ Dog,” is not an album meant to be listened to halfheartedly. Each song has a deep meaning and should instill the listener with a feeling of self-reflection and contemplation.

Even though I do not listen to much folk rock or sub-pop, I think anyone can appreciate Beams’ style and musical talent as an artist regardless of what their preferred genre of music might be. I definitely recommend the album to anyone interested in exploring a broader scope of music.

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