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Ghost On Ghost

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iTunes Review

With each successive album Sam Beam explores new creative styles and becomes less recognizable to those who remember the quiet, lo-fi recordings that stood as his introduction to the music world. Beam is too restless a soul to confine himself to single sound and Ghost On Ghost, his fifth album, grabs a ticket for the AM Radio of the 1970s when a singer-songwriter like Paul Simon tried on new grooves and R&B, soft rock and lite-jazz all could be heard in a single listening. "Grace For Saints and Ramblers" cranks up the electric piano and the female backing choruses for a classic track that slips between genres. "Grass Widows" takes things further with another jazzy electric piano, a smart horn section and a Beam vocal that shadows John Lennon with its lonely echo. "Singers and the Endless Song" has traces of the reflective cadences of Our Endless Numbered Days but with a slew of friends busting things out. Tony Garnier's bass lines, Brian Blade's clean but animated drum fills, and Josette Newsome and Carla Cook's backing vocals ensure Beam is lonely no more.

Customer Reviews


If you listened to—I don't know—the last 4 albums and liked them, then you will love this. If you never got over the fact that Sam Beam moved beyond a 4-track and acoustic guitar, then maybe you should stop shopping for new music.

The big band is just not working.

I feel for this guy. I understand that he doesn't want to make Our Endless Numbered Days for the rest of his career. I assume he wants to be challenged in writing and in the studio, and perhaps more importantly, to enjoy playing the music on the road, which is undoubtedly more fun with a big band than playing solo. But while this record is an improvement over the last one, it's just not satisfying to this listener. There's no sense of emotion conveyed; it's just sort of a pleasant exercise.

Sam's greatest strength has always been his lyrics. But the lyrics are overwhelmed by the band. Sam has a unique and beautiful voice, but it's too delicate to carry a large band. It sounds out of place. Whereas his voice was very enjoyable in his previous sparse arrangements, it almost becomes irritating when buried in the mix with the band. Sam's voice is like a raspberry. Outstanding with one or two other simple ingredients but easily overwhelmed. Add too many competing flavors, and you lose what made a raspberry great to begin with. Simplicity is the key.

Sufjan Stevens has the same dilemma. Age of Adz didn't work. Synths work for some people, but they did not flatter his voice. I hope Sam and Sufjan both find ways to satisfy their desires for progress and change, but in formats that suit their voices. Next go around, subdue that band and bring the vocals way, way up in the mix.

I miss the old iron and wine

I was hooked by the creek drank the cradle, our endless numbered days, and even some songs from the shepards dog ( mainly boy with a coin). They were all so simple and natural. But now it seems that with each new album, the songs become to electric and confusing. It sounds like The music is trying to hard to interest me, but it's not happening. But no matter what, I will always wish Sam beam luck.


Born: July 26, 1974 in Columbia, SC

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Singer/songwriter Samuel Beam, who rose to prominence with a blend of whispered vocals and softly homespun indie folk, chose the moniker Iron and Wine after coming across a dietary supplement named "Beef Iron & Wine" while working on a film. Raised in South Carolina, Beam received his bachelor's degree in art from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond and later his Master of Fine Arts degree from Florida State University Film School. Although Beam would later expand his sound to include electric...
Full Bio

Top Albums and Songs by Iron & Wine

Ghost On Ghost, Iron & Wine
View in iTunes
  • $10.99
  • Genres: Alternative, Music, Indie Rock, College Rock
  • Released: Apr 16, 2013

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