Iron & Wine showcases soft vocals with ‘Beast Epic’

North Carolina-native Sam Ervin Beam, better known for his stage name of Iron & Wine, dropped his highly anticipated sixth album “Beast Epic” Friday, breaking four long years of silence. Fans flocked to Beam’s latest work, which proves he has yet to lose his musical touch, even after being in the business for 15 years.

Though I rarely ever listen to folk-rock music, or Iron & Wine for that matter, Beam pushed all my hesitation to the side with his new 11-track collection, released under Sub Pop Records.

After listening to “Beast Epic” on repeat, I’m hooked.

The opening and shortest track of the entire album, “Claim Your Ghost,” instantly allows a warm feeling to take you over. From the time Beam counts under his breath to begin the song to his ending note, he guides you to what’s ahead, which is exactly what an opening track should do. Plus, I rarely find that an opening track blends with the following tracks as effortlessly as this one does.

The album lacks heavy instrumentals and added effects, but the strumming of guitar strings, along with the occasional pop of drum and layering of Beam’s voice, do the artist and his mission to compile an acoustic track-by-track album justice.

Due to the similarity of each song, once I reached the third track, “Bitter Truth,” I couldn’t escape the thought that the album felt repetitive. Then I heard “About a Bruise,” followed by “Last Night.” Both tracks introduce a much-needed increase in tempo; I just wish I didn’t have to wait until the seventh track to hear an uptempo song.

But, any fan of Beam’s understands that the majority of his songs will be slower and more mellow than other artists’ work. And as he aims for a stripped presence, he does it rather well.

Beam’s voice maintains a vibe-worthy presence. His soft vocals sooth the listener, even when hitting on heavy subjects like regret and death, which the album does throughout. Somehow, he uses his soft lullaby like voice to add ease to some of life’s most trying times.

After listening to his heart-felt album, Beam has made a fan out of me, so I know he can make a fan out of you, too.

For more information on Iron & Wine and to view his upcoming tour dates, click here.

To contact Lifestyles Editor Tayhlor Stephenson, email lifestyles@mtsusidelines.com.

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