Sam Beam has been writing and recording music as Iron & Wine for well over a decade now and, along the way, he’s amassed a sizable tape catalog of unreleased home recordings, cover songs, and live sets. Next month, the South Carolina native will begin releasing some of this music as part of a newly launched archival series.
Due out February 24th via Beam’s own Black Cricket Recording Co., Archive Series Volume No. 1 will focus on 16 tracks “created before Sam was Iron & Wine, when he was making music only to be heard by his family,” according to a press release. Those same sessions, recorded at Beam’s family home on a four-track cassette deck, would later result in Iron & Wine’s 2002 debut, The Creek Drank the Cradle.
Each song has been digitally transferred from its original cassette, and though much of the material has already circulated via bootlegs over the last 10-plus years, nothing has been available commercially until now. That’s the album artwork above, which depicts the Bird of Paradise Quilt from the American Folk Art Museum.
As a preview, Beam has unearthed a track called “Everyone’s Summer of ’95”. Brimming with gritty, lo-fi warmth, this earnest acoustic ballad is Iron & Wine’s unique brand of folk at its most raw and unassuming. Listen in below.
Pre-orders for the album are ongoing.
Archive Series Volume No. 1 Tracklist:
01. Slow Black River
02. The Wind Is Low
04. Two Hungry Blackbirds
05. Freckled Girl
07. Sing Song Bird
08. Beyond The Fence
09. Quarters In A Pocket
11. Everyone’s Summer of ’95
12. Minor Piano Keys
13. Your Sly Smile
14. Halfway To Richmond
15. Wade Across The Water
To accompany the album, Beam is releasing a short film called Iron & Wine: Dreamers and Makers are my Favorite People. The piece documents a recent set at Cleveland’s Jerry Run Summer Theater in which Beam performed several album tracks live for the very first time. Watch the trailer below.