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The Creek Drank the Cradle


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Audio CD, September 24, 2002
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The Creek Drank the Cradle + OUR ENDLESS NUMBERED DAYS [Vinyl] + THE SHEPHERD'S DOG [Vinyl]
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

One of those one-guy-and-his-tapedeck affairs. An ode to an older South of traditional values, pastoral imagery, and arcane manners. This is arresting stuff; intimate "American Gothic" style portraits and landscapes, traditional backdrops, laced with the most immediately seductive melodies.

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Iron & Wine is Sam Beam, a back-porch Florida singer-songwriter whose sad little songs pack a helluva wallop. Beam's immediately likable tunes paint such clear pictures that songs like "Southern Anthem" and "Muddy Hymnal" are more akin to short stories by Raymond Carver and Flannery O'Connor than to your average pop ditty. Recorded in his living room on a vintage four-track, The Creek Drank the Cradle co-stars cassette hiss, ambient room sound, and Beam himself. A stripped-down, one-man band, Beam contributes delicious Delta-flavored slide guitar, passable banjo, and deliriously beautiful harmonizing. Beam isn't just a songwriter the equal of Will Oldham and Leonard Cohen (really--and it'll be a surprise if folks don't immediately start covering him), the boy can sing. His melt-in-your-head-but-not-in-your-ears voice is instantly recognizable and will certainly please fans of Nick Drake, Lou Barlow, and Elliott Smith. --Mike McGonigal

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

Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 24, 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sub Pop
  • ASIN: B00006J402
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (105 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,169 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

56 of 59 people found the following review helpful By Brian Eric Bothwell on June 4, 2003
Format: Audio CD
I first heard a few cuts of "The Creek Drank the Cradle" via some MP3s a good friend sent me. Having *no* idea who "Iron & Wine" was, I was immediately taken by the lo-fi, harmonious, hushed vocals, and soft, slow, easy pacing. I swore that this had to be some lost recording from the late 1960's from some unknown progressive (for the 60's) folk/blues/country inspired band. It sounded nice, but I didn't end up listening much for a few weeks.
After getting the album and learning it was released late last year (9/2002) inspired me to give the tunes a much closer listen (on headphones, eyes closed, listening closely) early one morning at home. That experience was one of the most moving musical experiences I have had in years. I felt like I had been drained and then refilled. I was literally brought to tears listening to the Sam Beam's sorrowful lyrics of "Promising Light" and "Upward Over the Mountain" (two of the best tracks on the disk IMO). Very moving and softly powerful music & lyrics, indeed.
Since that listening (around two weeks ago), I have had "The Creek Drank the Cradle" in nearly constant play in my CD player (at work, in the car, at home). With each listen the album grows on me more. I was a bit worried I'd get burned out and stop lisetning, but not so far! I also have scoured the web for other unreleased tracks and found a few real gems as well. Word has it many tracks were recorded but only a dozen selected for this album. Hopefully the others will be released soon.
As many reviewers have noted, there is definiely elements of Nick Drake, Elliot Smith, Simon & Garfunkel, Will Oldham, etc. If you are a fan of these artists, indeed you will likely find something to enjoy here.
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78 of 85 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 12, 2004
Format: Audio CD
I live in a hellish, soul-less town with no sense of culture or unity and this cd just saved my life.
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35 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Juan Mobili on August 9, 2003
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
What a beautiful, beautiful album! It has been quite a while, with the exception of Damien Rice's and Teiturï's debuts, than a first CD offered such creative consistency. Sam Beam, the man behind Iron and Wine, has achieved a work of such unassuming depth that is impossible not to grow impatient for a second recording. Song after song, he manages to convey moods that are at once tender and full of existential pain, without ever indulging on the way too common tendency in young songwriters to put music to their private diaries, nor indulging on the kind of over-instrumentation that not-so-young performers indulge in to make up for the lack of richness in their work. I don't think there's a single weak tune here, actually some of his lesser tunes could be the jewels in CDs by most of his contemporaries. To some he might remind you of Will Oldham, a likely mentor, yet his work has already a feel of its own. This is Americana stripped from cliches, bringing together longing, sweetness and the lingering sense of someone reflecting on life without a "an ax to grind" (this is the difference between poetry and a personal journal). I was tempted to name the great songs but after typing the name of the first four, and realizing that the fifth song will be next, I deleted them. Every song is worthwhile, and adds to the hue of emotions he's so able to articulate. In some ways, it is my opinion, he may remind you of Nick Drake, in his capacity to write of sadness so beautifully that it can almost embrace you, like joy.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By "neoprog_and_emo_fan" on December 22, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Okay, this isn't the kind of music I would have expected to like. Based upon the descriptions I'd read, I would have expected it to be too "country". However, after seeing a great review in CMJ, then finding likewise glowing reviews online, I decided to check out some MP3s. I'm really glad I did.
My taste tends to lean toward off-kilter, neo-prog, and "harder" bands (eg, Bright Eyes, Modest Mouse, Neutral Milk Hotel, and Tool), so I was very surprised to find Iron & Wine so appealing. At first, I found the appeal ellusive, but after some thought, realized that it's the lyrics that sucked me in with Iron & Wine.
For me, the first thing that appeals to me (or doesn't) is the lyrics. If the lyrics are solid, thought provoking, and have something interesting to say, I'm half-way there. However, if the lyrics are the typical, mundane pop lyrics with predictable rhymes, the music just doesn't matter. Iron & Wine, like my other favorites, grab my attention, hold it, and have me still thinking about the words for sometime after the music has stopped. Iron & Wine has this quality in spades.
Apparently Sam Beam, the man behind Iron & Wine, teaches Cinematography at a university in Florida. His expertise in visuals really show through in his lyrics. The lyrics here are some of the most visual and painterly I've ever heard. While listening to Beam's words, a film unfolds in my head.
All of this blathering about the great lyrics isn't to say that the music isn't equally great. While the lyrics of music are what grab me first, the music has to equally support them. Iron & Wine does that perfectly. The folksy, mountain sound of banjos, acoustic and slide guitars is perfectly composed and just what's needed.
I would expect to see this all over stores.
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