First published in Alternative Ulster magazine.
Iron and Wine
This was a night when angelic harmonies, simple but beautiful guitar and arresting story telling transported us from a rainy Botanic to an Appalachian camp-fire. This was a night in the presence of Sam Beam and co, a.k.a. Iron & Wine. He is a magician, and his art is making three chords sound like the most enchanting thing in the world. His breathy voice creates emotion-laden songs of love and loss, of cherished memories, of real life. The simple musical backing never bored and the interplay between Sam and his harmonizing sister never ceased to amaze. On the bluesy ‘Free until they cut me down’ the two guitarists played off each other, bringing the night to a musical crescendo. The audience was modest in number but reverent in admiration. Rapturous applause accompanied the end of every song, to which the bashful Sam would just say a short thank you. He spoke little, commenting only on the recent
Co-headlining was the Scottish Alistair Roberts. Playing solo for the most part, his music was folk of the Celtic variety. While a talented singer and guitarist, it was unfortunate that he came second on the bill. Compared to the previous act his melodies sounded harsh and his voice sharp edged. Though enjoyable, it was Iron and Wine playing in our heads as we left.