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Headquarters:rural Florida

Website Link(s):Official Site (not updated in a while) Samuel "Sam" Ervin Beam[1] (born July 26, 1974), better known by his stage and recording name Iron & Wine, is an American singer-songwriter. He has released six studio albums, several EPs and singles, as well as a few download-only releases, which include a live album (a recording of his 2005 Bonnaroo performance). He occasionally tours with a full band.[2]

Beam was raised in South Carolina before moving to Virginia and then Florida to attend school. He now resides in Durham, North Carolina.[3] The name Iron & Wine is taken from a dietary supplement named "Beef, Iron & Wine" that he found in a general store while shooting a film.[4]

Early life[]

Beam was raised in Chapin, South Carolina, where his father worked in land management and his mother was a schoolteacher. When he was a child, his family took regular trips to the country, where his grandfather ran a farm. He attended Seven Oaks Elementary School and Chapin High School. While home from college, he was a waiter at California Dreaming restaurant in Columbia. Beam earned a bachelor's degree in art from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. He specialized in painting before graduating from the Florida State University Film School with an MFA degree. Before the release of the first Iron & Wine album, Beam's main source of income was as a professor of film and cinematography at the University of Miami and Miami International University of Art & Design.[5] He had been writing songs for over seven years before a friend lent him a four-track recorder. He began making demos and gave one to his friend Michael Bridwell, brother of Band of Horses lead singer, Ben Bridwell. Michael handed it to Mike McGonigal, editor of Yeti magazine, who chose "Dead Man's Will", later released on In the Reins, for inclusion on one of his magazine's compilation CDs. Beam later came to the attention of Sub Pop Records co-owner, Jonathan Poneman, who contacted Beam to propose a deal.[6][7][8][9]

Musical career[]

Beam released his first Iron & Wine album, The Creek Drank the Cradle, on the Sub Pop label in 2002. Beam wrote, performed, recorded and produced the album in his home studio. Featuring acoustic guitars, banjo, and slide guitar, the album's music has been compared to that of Nick Drake,[10] Simon and Garfunkel,[11] Elliott Smith, Neil Young and John Fahey.

Also in 2002, Beam recorded a cover of The Postal Service's then-unreleased song "Such Great Heights". Rather than being included on an Iron & Wine release, the track was initially included as a b-side of the original version by The Postal Service. It was later included on the B-sides and rarities album, Around the Well. He then followed up on his debut album in 2003 with The Sea & The Rhythm, an EP containing other home-recorded tracks with a similar style to the songs on the debut.

Beam's second full-length album, Our Endless Numbered Days (2004), was recorded in a professional studio with a significant increase in fidelity. Produced in Chicago by Brian Deck, the focus was still on acoustic material, but the inclusion of other band members gave rise to a slightly different sound. That same year, he recorded the song "The Trapeze Swinger" for the film In Good Company, and had his version of "Such Great Heights" featured in an advertisement for M&M's and in the film and soundtrack for Garden State. This version was later used in a 2006 advertisement, and eventually released as a single in 2006 backed with recordings of "The Trapeze Swinger" and "Naked as We Came" made for Radio Vienna.


Sarah Beam, Samuel's sister, at the Beachland Ballroom in Cleveland

In February 2005, he released an EP entitled Woman King, which expanded on the sounds of his previous LP with the addition of electric guitars. Each track features a spiritual female figure, and had subtle Biblical undertones.

The EP In the Reins, a collaboration with the Arizona-based rock band Calexico, was released in September 2005. Beam wrote all of the EP's songs years earlier, but Calexico added their trademark fusion of southwestern rock, traditional Mexican music and jazz to the songs' arrangements. Several tracks, most notably, "Burn That Broken Bed", feature brass instruments, a first for Beam's music.[12]

The third full-length Iron & Wine album, entitled The Shepherd's Dog, was released September 25, 2007.[13] This album was voted one of the ten best of 2007 by Paste magazine.[14] Contributors included Joey Burns and Paul Niehaus of Calexico, as well as jazz musicians Matt Lux and Bob Burger.[15] When asked to describe the album to The Independent, Beam remarked that "it's not a political propaganda record, but it's definitely inspired by political confusion, because I was really taken aback when Bush got reelected."[16]

Beam has released most of his music on iTunes, including several exclusive EPs. The Iron & Wine iTunes Exclusive EP features unreleased studio recordings, including a Stereolab cover and two tracks which had previously only appeared on vinyl. The Live Session (iTunes Exclusive) features Beam and his sister, Sarah Beam, performing a number of tracks from his albums, as well as a cover of New Order's "Love Vigilantes". Sarah Beam has contributed backing vocals on many of Beam's studio recordings.

Beam's music has appeared in television series such as Grey's Anatomy, The L Word and House M.D. "Flightless Bird, American Mouth" was used in the film Twilight. The song was specifically chosen for the film's prom scene by Kristen Stewart, the female lead, and appears on the film's soundtrack.

The B-sides and rarities album Around the Well was released in 2009. Iron & Wine also contributed the song "Stolen Houses (Die)" to the AIDS benefit album Dark Was the Night produced by the Red Hot Organization.

On November 26, 2010 Iron & Wine released a special edition Record Store Day Black Friday 12" vinyl and CD single called, Walking Far From Home for independent record stores.

Kiss Each Other Clean, Iron & Wine's fourth full-length album, was released on January 25, 2011 on Warner Bros. Records in North America and 4AD for the rest of the world.[17] With this album, Beam blended his earlier styles with a stronger pop influence.[18]

Ghost on Ghost, Iron & Wine's fifth studio album, was released in April 2013 on Nonesuch Records in North America and 4AD for the rest of the world.[19] Ghost on Ghost marked a further exploration into the pop sounds of Kiss Each Other Clean while also exhibiting jazz and R&B influences, with jazz drummer Brian Blade contributing to the album.[20] In January 2014, recording during the polar vortex in Chicago, Beam and his regular collaborator Brian Deck co-produced eight of the ten songs on Chadwick Stokes' 2015 album The Horse Comanche.[21] Beam contributed the Iron & Wine band to the sessions and sang backing vocals.

Iron & Wine released two albums in 2015. Archive Series: Volume 1, released in February, featured unreleased songs recorded during the same period as The Creek Drank the Cradle. Covers album, Sing Into My Mouth, recorded with Band of Horses singer Ben Bridwell, was released in July.[22] Love Letter for Fire, an album of duets with American singer-songwriter Jesca Hoop, was released in 2016 on Sub Pop. Produced, recorded, and mixed by Tucker Martine, the album also featured contributions from Wilco's Glenn Kotche, Rob Burger, Eyvind Kang, Sebastian Steinberg, and Edward Rankin-Parker.[23]

In August 2017, Iron & Wine's sixth studio album Beast Epic was released through Sub Pop Records. The record saw Beam strip back the production and array of instruments from previous records to return to more simple and melodic song structures.[24]

On March 21, 2019, Calexico and Iron & Wine announced Years to Burn, their first collaboration album. It was released on June 14, 2019 via Sub Pop.[25]

Personal life[]

Beam, his wife Kim, and their five daughters live in Durham, North Carolina.[26] He was raised in the Bible belt as a Christian, but is now an agnostic: "That was a confusing time for me, but I don't miss being misled. I'm not an atheist. There's an undeniable unseen world that some people call God and think they know more about than other people. I try not to get hung up on the names."[27][28]

In 2011, a portrait of Beam was painted by British artist Joe Simpson. The painting was exhibited around the UK, including in a solo exhibition at The Royal Albert Hall.[29]



  • Country Pop
  • Lo-Fi
  • Indie Rock (though more in the indie sense than in the rock sense)


Band Members[]

  • Samuel Beam

Band Biography[]

Seemingly looking for a career beyond teaching film at the University of Florida, Samuel Beam decided to record some of his own music. He then recorded two albums, sending them both to Sub Pop, hoping to get them both released. However, Sub Pop grand poobah Jonathan Poneman decided to take the best songs from these tapes and release them as one album, The Creek Drank The Cradle. Being very well-recieved for such a low-fi debut, he then became something of a buzzword amongst the indie elite. Having one of his songs feature in a bevy of films during 2004 and 2005 further raised his profile...and the songs were pretty good to boot! His next record, 2004's Our Endless Numbered Days, introduced a newer, somewhat higher-fi sound. The year after THAT, he featured on a collaboration with Calexico In The Reins, and released a follow up EP to 2003's The Sea And The Rhythm, entitled Woman King after the first song. Fingers are crossed and breaths are being held in wait for the next release from Florida's favorite son.




  • The Sea And The Rhythm
  • Woman King
  • In The Reins with Calexico


  • Call Your Boys / Dearest Forsaken
  • Passing Afternoon

Appears On[]



Mix CDs[]

Further Reading[]

  1. ACE. ACE Repertory. Retrieved on August 25, 2017.
  2. Tangari, Joe "Iron & Wine Interview" Template:Webarchive Pitchfork – October 1, 2007
  3. McDonald, Sam "Iron and Wine returns for solo show" – February 21, 2014
  4. Marchese, David "Why He's Called... Iron and Wine" – January 10, 2011
  5. Iron and Wine, Jason Ferguson, Miami New Times, April 10, 2008.
  6. "Iron and Wine", Georgiana Cohen. Archived from the original on October 11, 2008. Retrieved on August 25, 2017.
  7. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named AmericanStatesman
  8. "Planting Together: An interview with Iron and Wine's Sam Beam", Maud Newton. Retrieved on August 25, 2017.
  9. "Iron & Wine: Biography", James Christopher Monger, Rovi. Retrieved on August 25, 2017.
  10. Kearney, Ryan (October 2, 2002). Iron & Wine: The Creek Drank the Cradle. Pitchfork. Retrieved on October 11, 2010.
  11. Bickford, B.R. (February 19, 2003). "Iron & Wine: "The Creek Drank the Cradle"". Archived from the original on July 16, 2006. Retrieved May 14, 2006.
  12. Template:Cite AV media notes
  13. Khanna, Vish."Iron and Wine’s Guiding Light", Exclaim!, October 2007.
  14. Paste magazine issue No. 38
  15. Khanna, Vish (October 2007). Iron and Wine's Guiding Light. Archived from the original on October 11, 2007. Retrieved on September 26, 2007.
  16. Gill, Andy (November 17, 2006). "Sam Beam: Love, God, death and a tree of bees". The Independent (London). Retrieved August 25, 2017.
  17. Archived copy. Archived from the original on October 15, 2010. Retrieved on October 12, 2010.
  18. Rosen, Jody (February 3, 2011). "Iron & Wine's Technicolor Roots". The Rolling Stone: p. 64.
  19. Iron & Wine Return With New Album Ghost on Ghost, Share New Track "Lovers' Revolution" | News. Pitchfork (January 31, 2013). Retrieved on April 16, 2013.
  20. Nast, Condé. Iron & Wine Return With New Album *Ghost on Ghost*, Share New Track "Lovers' Revolution" (en).
  21. Chadwick Stokes' The Horse Comanche Out Now to Widespread Acclaim. Retrieved on June 30, 2015.
  22. Ryan, Shane (April 2, 2015). Iron & Wine, Band of Horses to Collaborate on Covers Album. Paste. Retrieved on August 25, 2017.
  23. Monroe, Jazz (February 10, 2016). Sam Beam (Iron & Wine) Teams With Jesca Hoop for Duets Album and Tour. Pitchfork. Retrieved on April 29, 2016.
  24. Beast Epic.
  25. Calexico and Iron & Wine Announce New Album, Share New Song: Listen (March 21, 2019). Retrieved on March 24, 2019.
  26. Menconi, David "Iron & Wine finds a new home in Durham" The News & Observer – June 26, 2014
  27. Newton, Maud "Planting Together: An interview with Iron and Wine’s Sam Beam" The High Hat
  28. Brown, Helen "Iron and Wine: Don't mention the beard" The Telegraph – September 15, 2007
  29. Breihan, Tom "Ezra Koenig, Matt Berninger, Sam Beam Immortalized in Oil Paintings" Pitchfork – February 23, 2011