The Shepherd's Dog

Studio Album by released in 2007
The Shepherd's Dog's tracklist:
Pagan Angel and a Borrowed Car
White Tooth Man
Lovesong of the Buzzard
Carousel
House by the Sea
Innocent Bones
Wolves (Song of the Shepherd's Dog)
Resurrection Fern
Boy With a Coin
The Devil Never Sleeps
Peace Beneath the City
Flightless Bird, American Mouth

The Shepherd's Dog review

One of the most honest ways of self-expression

Why do we feel strong dislike to one artist while another makes us feel inspired? What's the secret of popularity? This is an extremely disputable question. The music's mood evokes emotions, if you like the mood, than you like the music. Therefore any artist's mission is to make this mood shine as bright as possible. Of course, production and promotion are major factors but they cannot replace true sincerity. They cannot because these are essentially different things. Unfortunately, the situation is such that sincerity became one of the rarest things to meat in the world of music today. Production volume increases but emotional values go down at that. Rules and regulations created by music industry kill individuality. However it doesn’t change the essence of things and music still remains one of the most honest ways of self-expression. From this perspective Texas based folk rock singer Sam Beam, who is better known by his stage name Iron & Wine, is a pretty rare specimen. His songs are his small world and his melodies possess simple beauty, which is always accessible for everyone who would like to get acquainted with it.

Quiet voice and acoustic guitar

Sam Beam started his discography with the album The Creek Drank The Cradle released in 2002. Beam wrote, performed, recorded, and produced every track on the album by himself at a studio in his home. The record's quality wasn't astonishing but it couldn't prevent it from winning the hearts of those who loves old school acoustic rock in the vain of Simon & Garfunkel. Guitar strumming and Beams quiet voice – these were the only components of this homemade record, which was later characterized by critics as alternative country or indie folk. Beam recorded his next album Our Endless Numbered Days in professional studio together with a small group of musicians but it didn't change the essence of his music. The sound was different but Beam's voice and guitar were still the basic elements even despite full band support. However, it seems like Iron & Wine's new album will bring some surprises. For the recent years Beam has shown his inclinations to experimentalism and applied a wide range of musical innovations on his EP Woman King and Calexico collaboration, In The Reins. The Shepherd's Dog is a third and the most solid record of Iron & Wine so far. Beam surrounded himself with a whole team of recording musicians and decorated arrangements with completely different instruments starting from accordion and Hammond organs to vibraphone and harmonica.

Magic atmosphere

Unlike Iron & Wire's previous works The Shepherd's Dog is a much more percussive and rhythmically oriented album. The first track Pagan Angel And A Borrowed Car is played in a pretty fast tempo. Just like many other songs here it features a wide range of different percussion instruments, which impart a very peculiar tribal or Latin-American flavor to the compositions. Lovesong Of The Buzzard and especially Wolves (Song Of The Shepherd's Dog) can serve as perfect examples of this peculiarity. However, the record has a sufficient amount of more traditional for Sam Beam songs such as a half-fairy ballad Carousel or a little bit melancholic Resurrection Fern. These are slow, acoustic pieces that create almost unreal, psychedelic atmosphere. In fact, the album's basis consists in Sam Beam again. Everything spins around his quiet voice and his acoustic folk guitar. The increased production quality and rich arrangements only enforce advantages of these elements. Sam Beam has changed his approach to recording process but within he is still the same. The album will be interesting to anyone who is not indifferent to folk rock and psychedelia. Sam Beam is a real mood craftsman, his songs possess literally magic atmosphere, which will make you forget about the events of external world.

(03.10.2007)
Rate review4.66
Total votes - 12


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