Iron and Wine's Samuel Beam may be able to take advantage of beaches in his hometown of Miami, but his lo-fi, home-recorded debut disc on Sub Pop, The Creek Drank the Cradle, has more in common with pasty-skinned shut-ins like Lou Barlow, Will Oldham and Nick Drake. A screenwriting and cinematography professor by day, Beam writes lyrics that are intellectual and heartfelt, full of ache and melody. The prolific songwriter -- he also has a side project with Modest Mouse's Isaac Brock called Ugly Casanova -- is a one-man recording band on acoustic guitar and banjo; onstage, he sensibly fleshes out the lonesome sound with a traveling band that includes his sister Sarah on backup vocals, a bassist, drummer and guitarist/banjo player. Stretching out the possibilities, the live band figures to have more energy and textures than the delicate album. Here's hoping Beam's Southern gothic musings aren't lost under the weight of too many players.
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