On Friday, July 20th, Iron & Wine hosted their 4th annual benefit concert for Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA) and Mercy in Action at Austin’s Paramount Theatre. The perfect outlet for Iron & Wine’s poetic, haunting melodies, the concert has become something I look forward to every year. It’s obvious that Sam Beam (and especially the charities involved) look forward to it just as much.

Iron and Wine

Because of his mellow songwriting and the infrequency that he appears on magazine covers or TV screens, I always assume that Sam Beam is a bit of a timid fellow. But every time he proves me wrong. He’s actually rather charming and quite funny. To start the show, he took the stage by himself for about 5 songs. He obviously didn’t come with a particular setlist in mind so he offered to take requests. The majority of the requests were for songs buried deep in Iron & Wine’s catalogue and Beam had to renege the offer, stating that “the polls are closed because you guys clearly have the Internet.”

After a lovely version of “The Trapeze Swinger”, Beam brought out two additional musicians to cover the piano, mandolin, and banjo duties. The band launched into “Tree By The River” and the crowd went crazy. It was quite a vocal audience considering the environment. There were a few other songs that the audience whooped and hollered through as well.

Though the setlist touched on all of the different releases that makes up the band’s discography, a good portion of the songs came from Iron & Wine’s latest album, Kiss Each Other Clean, including an incredibly gorgeous version of “Me and Lazarus.” While the thing I love most about Kiss Each Other Clean is the full and experimental instrumentation, it was nice to hear these songs brought back down to a minimal, intricate level.

The set ended with a song I swear I’ll never tire of…”Boy With A Coin.”

KGSR has great pictures from the show and the setlist is available here. Looking forward to next year!

– Submitted by Jessica Reed, Social Media