iron & wine – woman king

the cute little late-30s guy at big star suggested that i would like iron & wine if i liked palace. i would have bought anything he told me to…

it turned out to be quite different. he put me onto it in the earliest days of iron & wine’s existence which was perceptibly much quieter than it is now. it feels like so much longer ago than it actually is (2002). perhaps that speaks to some of the sonic age of his music.

this short release contains a great set of lyrics and sounds. every single song makes perfect sense. in hindsight it transitions his acoustic home recorded work into near full hi-fi production between albums. it starts and ends with off-kilter rhythms that can be hard to pick (and can sometimes be lost mid-song) – in woman king and evening on the ground. they happen to be the hardest hitting entries, thematically and structurally. having said that, the simple acoustic repetition at the start of freedom hangs like heaven holds place until a striking blues beat enters to propel the song to its end. replete, i think, with some subtle clapping and tapping on non-musical metal objects.

supposedly there are religious implications to these songs. i don’t know the references (except for some obvious ones), but what it strikes me as being is a collection about strong, loving and oft persecuted women. him singing these sentiments always felt to me like a great leveller, lending a sense of equality and recognition when i’d never really heard anything in music like it (and still have not).

it’s also odd amongst the rest of the collection that, having loved much of this music, i’ve never seen him perform live. i’m not sure that i would anymore, but it feels like a lost moment. the same goes for jason molina. maybe i’ll write about him tomorrow. it has been leading to it…

we were born to fuck each other one way or another

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