Aside from the immediacy and intimacy of his recorded work, there is one thing clear about Iron & Wineâ€™s Sam Beam: he is wonderfully and seemingly effortlessly prolific. In just short of 2 years he has released 2 full-length albums and two EPs. Recorded in August 2004 with Brian Deck at his Engine Studios in Chicago, Iron & Wineâ€™s latest release, the Woman King EP, is striking both for its broadened palette (percussion, piano, violin, even electric guitar all crop up here) and its thematic focus on female characters both archetypal and personal. The latter is mostly coincidental, a larger batch of songs yielding recurrent imagery when pared down for this EP. That negotiation with the sexual other might be best summed up with a line from â€œMy Ladyâ€™s Houseâ€: â€œThank god you see me the way you do/Strange as you are to me.â€ And, the increasingly complex beauty of Iron & Wineâ€™s albums might best be summed up by the following, from SPIN (in a review of Our Endless Numbered Days): â€œIt all works because Beam is a fearlessly accessible songwriter, framing his melancholy in concrete imagery and solid, inviting melodies. He writes with the self-confidence of a man at peace with his gauzy gufts. He sings like a father talking to a child he respects or like a husband to a wife he adores. Beam has given us his second straight masterwork: self-assured, spellbinding and richly, refreshingly adult.â€ Hereâ€™s his third.
1. Woman King
3. Grey Stables
4. Freedom Hangs Like Heaven
5. In My Lady's House
6. Evening on the Ground (Lilith's Song)