Iron & Wine The Creek Drank The Cradle

[Sub Pop; 2002]

Styles: indie rock, lo-fi, folk, Americana
Others: Nick Drake, Neil Young, Palace, Donovan

Who was the idiot that said guitars were dead? I pee on all of my Radiohead
bootlegs to get something as beautiful as The Creek Drank The Cradle,
Iron & Wine’s debut album. In 2001, Sub Pop released The Shins’ debut Oh,
Inverted World
and while it didn’t reinvent the wheel, it was a gorgeous
indie pop album. In 2002, Sub Pop has done it again with Iron & Wine’s debut

Iron & Wine is the performing name of Sam Beam, a well-bearded fellow from the
un-indiest of all cities, Miami. As the story goes, he goes all 1994-lo-fi on us
and records 2 CDs worth of music at his home studio. He sends it to Sub Pop who
is floored by what they hear, edit the tracks to one full album and release it
as is…how punk rock!

Of course, the real story here is the music. Eleven tracks of intimate, acoustic
folk. Beam’s whispery voice sounds like air (the stuff we breathe, not the band)
meets Nick Drake. Most tracks are based in acoustic guitar strumming but the
extra layers of banjo, slide guitar and backing vocals add just the right
textures to make the album complete. There’s no need for anything extra - Beam’s
songs are so simple and beautifully sung that it would be a crime to change a

The album is strong from beginning to end. "Faded from the Winter," "Promising
Light," and "Upward Over the Mountain" all speak of love and childhood memories
with gentle strumming heard throughout. "Rooster Moans" brings to mind the
rootsy/bluegrass music that rich white people seemed to enjoy for some reason
last year with the ‘O Brother’ soundtrack. This track features a banjo
instead of guitar and exemplifies how well Sam Beam can handle all sorts of
acoustic-based styles.

In a year where everyone is trying to "push the envelope," Iron & Wine’s The
Creek Drank The Cradle
nearly steals the show by bringing it all back home.
It’s not reinventing the wheel, but it’s one hell of an album.

1. Lion's Mane
2. Bird Stealing Bread
3. Faded from the Winter
4. Promising Light
5. The Rooster Moans
6. Upward Over the Mountain
7. Southern Anthem
8. An Angry Blade
9. Weary Memory
10. Promise What You Will
11. Muddy Hymnal

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