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Creek Drank The Cradle
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Performer Notes
  • Iron & Wine: Samuel Beam.
  • One of the most lauded albums of 2002, THE CREEK DRANK THE CRADLE has the ability to stun with its spare beauty. Under the alias of Iron & Wine, Floridian singer/songwriter Sam Beam unveils a rustic 11-song debut here that brings to mind a Southern Gothic Nick Drake. Recorded solely by Beam at home, the disc features minimal instrumentation (primarily acoustic guitar) and a lo-fi sound that's used to striking effect. This bare-bones setting spotlights Beam's high, clear, often-whispered vocals and his evocative lyrics, which conjure up thieving birds, daunting mountains, and melancholy church-goers.
  • "Lion's Mane" immediately draws listeners close with its intricate, finger-picked guitar and quiet singing, as if Beam were sharing a secret. "Promising Light" seems to move in entrancingly slow motion as it ponders the nature of love, while "The Rooster Moans" saunters into gritty, foreboding bluegrass territory. The record's rural atmosphere is remarkably consistent; Beam's is an achingly sincere voice with plenty of dark, backwoods stories to tell. Although the Iron & Wine sound would be expanded on subsequent releases, the template of Beam's aesthetic is fully in place here, making it an undeniably important album.
Professional Reviews
Uncut (11/02, p.121) - 4 stars out of 5 - "...Simple elegance...the songs occasionally achieve the quietly revelatory feel of John Lennon's early solo work."

The Wire (9/02, p.54) - "...The performance here is naked and relaxed....What makes the album so captivating is its unique blend of elements..."

CMJ (9/23/02) - "...Although, THE CREEK is intrinsically quiet throughout, it is also sure to hush a noisy room with its heartfelt melodies and jaw-dropping intensity..."

Mojo (Publisher) (1/03, p.92) - "...Beam's evocation of elemental themes and dramas is too profound and affecting to deny..."

Paste (magazine) - "He spins out gorgeous couplets with misleading ease; there's a head-turner in practically every song."
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