Back in June 2019, Sam Beam (a.k.a. Iron & Wine) joined forces with folk/Americana group Calexico for the full length LP, Years to Burn. This would mark the second time the two bands collaborated, the first being EP In the Reins from 2005. The bands musical styles perfectly complement one another, resulting in luscious harmonies and arrangements.
Before the show started, stage hands marched a seemingly endless amount of instruments on stage. Nine acoustic guitars moved in alone, followed by accordions, upright basses, electric guitars and horns. I have experienced seeing both of these bands individually and this collection of instruments is not surprising. Sam Beam typically brings a dozen or more musicians out for an Iron & Wine show and Calexico has such a full Americana sound with dense horns and strings. None of these attributes were lost in bringing the two bands together.
The set drew heavily from the two collaborative projects, but they also performed covers of each other’s songs and other bands. This first one was a cover of “Glimpse,” a track off Calexico’s 1996 debut Spoke. Sam introduced the song by saying “this song was the first Calexico song I ever heard.” The other Calexico cover was “Flores y Tamales” from 2018s The Thread That Keeps Us. While there were no Iron & Wine covers at Webster Hall, they were playing songs like “Boy With A Coin” and “Naked As We Came” at other stops. Full setlist below.
The show ended with two more collaborative tracks, but with opening band Half Waif joining them on stage to provide additional vocals. Had you not known that this show was a collaboration between two separate groups, you would think this was a band that has been writing and performing together their whole career. Their musical styles are already complementary and there is a clear friendship that adds a ton of energy to the stage.
Setlist: Father Mountain, Prison on Route 41, Follow the Water, In the Reins, Glimpse (Calexico cover), Sixteen Maybe Less, The Bitter Suite, Bring on the Dancing Horses (Echo and the Bunnymen cover), Flores y Tamales (Calexico cover), [Solos], Red Dust, I Lost It (Lucinda Williams cover), Midnight Sun, Burn That Broken Bed, What Heaven’s Left.