It was really by accident that I came across Iron and Wine's debut, "The Creek Drank the Cradle." It is not by accident that I have bought and religiously listened to everything that Samuel Beam has put out under his band moniker since that time. "The Sea and the Rhythm" picked up magically where the debut left off. "Our Endless Numbered Days" expanded on the beautifully poetic style by increasing the production value and adding an expanse of instruments to the mix.
Now it seems that Iron and Wine are aiming to be one of the most prolific recording artists of my lifetime with yet another EP, "The Woman King." With this many releases, a listener could certainly have an expectation of staleness in the air, but somehow, Sam Beam continues to push the boundaries of a folk style that many would have probably considered old hat, if not boring or dead.
But here he is, pushing again and seemingly adding to the surprising spectacle at every turn. Beam creates another wonderful set of lush harmonic landscapes with his acoustic guitar, scarce drums, and other stringed instruments of any and every kind. Even his use of electric guitar on "Evening on the Ground" sounds epic if only because it is he who is using it.
While only six songs, "The Woman King" is not to be missed. Old fans will appreciate the traditional beauty of the title track and "Jezebel," while those in search of something new from Iron and Wine will appreciate "Freedom Hangs Like Heaven," and "Evening on the Ground."
It has been an amazing run thus far. It will be interesting to see just how long it lasts and where it can go from here.