Posts Tagged ‘Years to Burn’

Calexico and Iron & Wine - Years to Burn

Calexico and Iron & Wine first made an artistic connection with In the Reins, the 2005 EP that brought Sam Beam, Joey Burns and John Convertino together. The acclaimed collaboration introduced both acts to wider audiences and broadened Beam’s artistic horizons, but it was the shared experience of touring together in the tradition of Bob Dylan’s “Rolling Thunder Revue” that cemented their bond. Their metaphorical roads diverged in the years that followed, but they kept in touch and cross-pollinated where they could. But although they often talked about rekindling their collaboration in the studio and on the stage, it wasn’t until last year that their schedules aligned.

Years to Burn can’t help but be different from In the Reins. Back then, Calexico entered the studio with a long list of previous collaborations (first in Giant Sand, then backing the likes of Victoria Williams and Richard Buckner) and the knowledge that they loved Sam’s voice and his songs, but wondering if his material was so complete and self-contained that it lacked a way in, so hushed and delicate that it might be overwhelmed. For his part, Beam had been intimidated by their virtuosic playing and their deep comfort in an encyclopedic array of styles. “In my mind, I was a guy who knew three chords and recorded in a closet,” Sam says. “They were playing big stages and were superb musicians.”

Those fears were dispelled quickly. Calexico was bowled over by Beam’s many talents: “The arranging, the writing, his sense of rhythm, the quality of his vocals—and then there’s the experimental side of Sam,” Joey says. “They were the perfect band at the perfect time for me,” Sam adds. “I loved all their different sounds. They’re musical anthropologists, not regurgitating but absorbing what they discover.” Nearly 15 years on, “coming back to the project has to do with acknowledging how much impact the first record had for me in my life.”

Calexico and Iron & Wine

Released via Sub Pop (World) and City Slang (Europe)

With the release of the second track, “Midnight Sun,” from the new collaborative album between Calexico and Iron and Wine  “Years to Burn” comes a new video featuring animation by Jonny Sanders and illustrations by Sam Beam. The illustrations came out of over 100 paintings Beam did while creating the album cover.

Calexico’s lead singer Joey Burns said of the process behind the new song:

Sam sent some demos the week before we met to record the album. Based on the feel of those demos I wrote the song “Midnight Sun” the day I got to Nashville. I arrived at our rental house the day before everyone else and was happy to find a piano, old pump organ and guitar to do some writing. I was up late and came up with a tune that would bridge both bands’ worlds. I started with a drone in F# and was curious as to where it would take me.

‘Years to Burn’


Calexico (Joey Burns and John Convertino) and Iron & Wine (Sam Beam) have announced “Years to Burn”the trio’s first collaboration since their 2005 In the Reins EP, not to mention their first full-length album together—due out June 14 via Sub Pop/City Slang. Our first taste of the album has arrived, as well, in the form of its idyllic lead single “Father Mountain.” Rounding out all this good news is an extensive set of North American, European and U.K. joint tour dates, more of which will be added in the weeks to come.

Burns, Convertino and Beam recorded their new album at Nashville’s fabled Sound Emporium studio with producer Matt Ross-Spang (Jason Isbell, Margo Price). Years to Burn features 10 new compositions spanning eight distinct tracks, with Beam handling the bulk of the songwriting alongside Burns, Convertino and their studio contributors: longtime Calexico trumpet player Jacob Valenzuela and Paul Niehaus on pedal steel, with frequent Beam collaborators Rob Burger (Tin Hat Trio) on piano and Sebastian Steinberg (Soul Coughing, Fiona Apple) on bass.

“Life is hard. Awesome. And scary as shit. But it can lift you up if you let it,” Beam says of the album. “These are the things Joey and I write about now. And the title can encapsulate a lot of things. Years to Burn could mean you’re cocky, you’ve got it made. Or, our life is ours to burn, to be inspired. Or you’re burned by life, brutalized. It’s an ambiguous title, because life is complicated. Let’s not talk like teenagers about love, desire, pain, ‘cause we’re not teenagers. And that’s not a bad thing.”

Texan indie rockers Calexico are long term collaborators with Iron and Wine AKA South Carolina songwriter Sam Beam have already worked together on their incredible ‘In The Reins’ EP which they brought out in 2005. They have just announced and extensive Autumn tour which takes them right across the UK in November.

“This project had to find the right time,” adds Burns. “We’re all different people than we were in 2004, and music helps to bridge some of the gaps. For all the things going on in our world and in each of our lives, this connection, this friendship, this love that we have—this album is a vehicle for that bond. It’s a chance to see where we’re at, take stock and be there for our friends.”

The inner peace that comes with that age and experience certainly shines through on “Father Mountain,” a jangly, pastoral reverie that takes on the fuzzy haze of fond memories slowly fading. “Everyone knows and they don’t know / chandelier light ain’t low / They just watch as the time goes,” sings a wistful Beam, looking back on simpler days.

Listen to “Father Mountain” with Calexico and Iron & Wine