Iron & Wine

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Iron & Wine
Beam performing in 2022
Beam performing in 2022
Background information
Birth nameSamuel Ervin Beam
Born (1974-07-26) July 26, 1974 (age 49)
Chapin, South Carolina, U.S.
  • Vocals
  • guitar
  • banjo
  • piano
  • percussion
  • harmonica
  • bass
Iron & Wine at a 2006 concert at Brooklyn's McCarren Park Pool

Samuel Ervin Beam[2] (born July 26, 1974), better known by his stage 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.[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[edit]

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[edit]

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. A 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]

Live at Third Man Records was released in 2019, after being recorded on August 31, 2017.[26]

Personal life[edit]

Beam, his wife Kim, and their five daughters live in Durham, North Carolina.[27] 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."[28][29]

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.[30]


Studio albums[edit]

List of albums, with selected chart positions, sales figures and certifications
Title Year Peak chart positions Sales Certifications
The Creek Drank the Cradle 2002
Our Endless Numbered Days 2004 158
The Shepherd's Dog 2007 24 98 24 74
Kiss Each Other Clean 2011 2 36 15 54 10 24 57 32
Ghost on Ghost 2013 26 88 32 43 100 40
Sing into My Mouth {with Ben Bridwell) 2015 116 67 191
Love Letter for Fire[47] (with Jesca Hoop) 2016 173
Beast Epic 2017 44 83 77 93 60
Years to Burn (with Calexico) 2019 55 46
Light Verse 2024
"—" denotes a release that did not chart or was not released in that territory

Live albums and soundtracks[edit]

List of live albums and soundtracks
Year Album
2005 Iron & Wine Live Bonnaroo
2009 Norfolk 6/20/05
2011 Morning Becomes Eclectic
2019 Live at Third Man Records
2023 Who Can See Forever Soundtrack


List of compilations
Year Album US Notes
2009 Around the Well[31] 25 B-sides and rarities compilation

Archive series[edit]

The "Archive Series" of early Sam Beam / Iron & Wine recordings
Year Album Notes
2015 Archive Series Volume No. 1 Album of previously unreleased early home recordings
2015 Archive Series Volume No. 2 7" covers single, 2 tracks, early home recordings
2017 Archive Series Volume No. 3 Record Store Day 7" single, two original songs from 2009
2017 Archive Series Volume No. 4 8 track vinyl album, acoustic versions of songs from The Shepherd's Dog
2021 Archive Series Volume No. 5 Album of previously unreleased songs recorded in Tallahassee in 1998


List of EPs
Year Title US Notes
2002 Iron & Wine Tour EP
2003 The Sea & The Rhythm
2004 Iron & Wine iTunes Exclusive EP iTunes only
2005 Woman King[31] 128
2005 In the Reins[48] 135 with Calexico
2006 Live Session (iTunes Exclusive) iTunes only
2006 Live at Lollapalooza 2006 iTunes only
2018 Weed Garden[49]
2022 Lori Covering four Lori McKenna songs


  • "Call Your Boys" b/w "Dearest Forsaken" via Sub Pop Singles Club (CD + Clear 7" Vinyl) (2002)
  • "No Moon" b/w "Sinning Hands" (Limited 7" Vinyl Bonus with first Pressing of Our Endless Numbered Days) (2004)
  • "Passing Afternoon" (CD only) (2004)
  • "The Trapeze Swinger" (iTunes only) (2005)
  • "Such Great Heights" (UK only CD) (2006)
  • "Arms of a Thief / Serpent Charmer" (2007)
  • "Boy with a Coin" b/w "Carried Home" and "Kingdom of the Animals" (CD + UK only 10" Vinyl) (2007)
  • "Dark Eyes" (Bob Dylan cover w/ Calexico) (2007)
  • "Lovesong of the Buzzard" (CD + UK only 10" Vinyl) (2008)
  • "Flightless Bird, American Mouth" (2008), BPI: Silver[50]
  • "Love Vigilantes" (2009)
  • "Walking Far from Home" (2010)
  • "Me and Lazarus" (2011)
  • "Tree by the River" (2011)
  • "Time After Time" (2016)
  • "Call It Dreaming" (2017)
  • "Bitter Truth" (2017)
  • "Song in Stone" (2017)
  • “You Never Know” (2024)

Music videos[edit]

  • "Southern Anthem" (2002)
  • "Lion's Mane" (2002)
  • "Boy with a Coin" (2007)
  • "Joy" (2013)
  • "Call It Dreaming" (2017)
  • "Thomas County Law" (2017)
  • "Bitter Truth" (2018)
  • "Last Night" (2018)

Other contributions[edit]


  1. ^ Richards, Chris. "Dear Indie Rock Bands of the Next Decade: Won't You Kick the Ambien?". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on January 19, 2011. Retrieved July 8, 2017.
  2. ^ ACE. "ACE Repertory". Archived from the original on January 6, 2017. Retrieved August 25, 2017.
  3. ^ Tangari, Joe "Iron & Wine Interview" Archived October 11, 2007, at the Wayback Machine Pitchfork – October 1, 2007
  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 August 25, 2017.
  7. ^ Gross, Joe (September 26, 2007). "Music". Retrieved March 11, 2010.
  8. ^ ""Planting Together: An interview with Iron and Wine's Sam Beam", Maud Newton". Archived from the original on December 28, 2017. Retrieved August 25, 2017.
  9. ^ ""Iron & Wine: Biography", James Christopher Monger, Rovi". Retrieved August 25, 2017.
  10. ^ Kearney, Ryan (October 2, 2002). "Iron & Wine: The Creek Drank the Cradle". Pitchfork. Retrieved 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. ^ "Burn That Broken Bed" (Media notes). Iron & Wine. 2011.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  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 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. ^ "4AD - News - Signs to 4AD, Readies New Album for January 2011". Archived from the original on October 15, 2010. Retrieved 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 April 16, 2013.
  20. ^ "Iron & Wine Return With New Album *Ghost on Ghost*, Share New Track "Lovers' Revolution"". Pitchfork. January 31, 2013. Retrieved March 26, 2019.
  21. ^ Goodman, Asha. "Chadwick Stokes' The Horse Comanche Out Now to Widespread Acclaim". Sacks & Co. Archived from the original on June 22, 2015. Retrieved June 30, 2015.
  22. ^ Ryan, Shane (April 2, 2015). "Iron & Wine, Band of Horses to Collaborate on Covers Album". Paste. Archived from the original on July 10, 2017. Retrieved August 25, 2017.
  23. ^ Monroe, Jazz (February 10, 2016). "Sam Beam (Iron & Wine) Teams With Jesca Hoop for Duets Album and Tour". Pitchfork. Retrieved April 29, 2016.
  24. ^ Mason, Danielle (June 8, 2017). "Beast Epic".
  25. ^ Bloom, Madison (March 21, 2019). "Calexico and Iron & Wine Announce New Album, Share New Song: Listen". Pitchfork. Retrieved March 24, 2019.
  26. ^ "Live at Third Man LP | Ambient Inks". Retrieved December 7, 2023.
  27. ^ Menconi, David "Iron & Wine finds a new home in Durham" The News & Observer – June 26, 2014
  28. ^ Newton, Maud "Planting Together: An interview with Iron and Wine’s Sam Beam" Archived February 20, 2016, at the Wayback Machine The High Hat
  29. ^ Brown, Helen "Iron and Wine: Don't mention the beard" The Telegraph – September 15, 2007
  30. ^ Breihan, Tom "Ezra Koenig, Matt Berninger, Sam Beam Immortalized in Oil Paintings" Pitchfork – February 23, 2011
  31. ^ a b c "Iron & Wine – Chart history (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved September 6, 2017.
  32. ^ "Iron and Wine – Chart history (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved September 6, 2017.
  33. ^ Peaks in Australia:
  34. ^ "Iron & Wine Album & Song Chart History: "Canadian Albums"". Billboard.
  35. ^ "Iron and Wine – Chart history (Canadian Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved September 6, 2017.
  36. ^ "Iron & Wine". Dutch charts.
  37. ^ "Iron & Wine". Norwegian charts.
  38. ^ "Iron & Wine". Hung Medien.
  39. ^ "Iron & Wine". Schweizer Hitparade. Hung Medien.
  40. ^ Peaks in the UK:
  41. ^ Cohen, Jonathan (March 7, 2007). "Iron & Wine in a Playful Mood On New Album". Billboard. Retrieved January 28, 2019.
  42. ^ "American album certifications – Iron & Wine – Our Endless Numbered Days". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved June 3, 2023.
  43. ^ "Farm Fresh". Billboard. February 21, 2009. p. 24. Retrieved January 28, 2019.
  44. ^ "American album certifications – Iron & Wine – The Shepherd's Dog". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved June 3, 2023.
  45. ^ Lipshutz, Jason (January 31, 2013). "Iron and Wine Returns with 'Ghost on Ghost' Album". Billboard. Retrieved January 28, 2019.
  46. ^ "Upcoming Releases". Hits Daily Double. HITS Digital Ventures. Archived from the original on June 17, 2015. Retrieved January 28, 2019.
  47. ^ Young, Alex (February 10, 2016). "Iron & Wine's Sam Beam announces new album with Jesca Hoop, shares "Every Songbird Says" — listen". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved June 2, 2016.
  48. ^ Iron & Wine in the Reins Charts > Billboard Albums, AllMusic
  49. ^ Sodomsky, Sam (July 24, 2018). "Iron & Wine Announces New EP Weed Garden, Shares New Song: Listen". Pitchfork. Retrieved July 25, 2018.
  50. ^ "British certifications – Iron and Wine". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved October 23, 2022. Type Iron and Wine in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.

External links[edit]