Calexico and Iron & Wine (from the album Years to Burn available on Sub Pop Records)
Fourteen years have passed between the last collaboration of Calexico and Iron & Wine releases. That does not constitute calling their latest album Years to Burnfor a follow title but more of a new recording from like-minded musicians circling around the same Indie music scene. Years to Burn, however, is worth the wait; a concise effort that reveals the assembled players can easily blend the neo-Folk of Iron & Wine with the desert-noir of Calexico into a pleasing package, loaded with vocal mystery and classic Calexico instrumentation, a melody territory where lonesome pedal steel riffs saddle up and ride beside mariachi horns and flamenco guitar.
“What Heavens Left” opens Years to Burn with atmospheric Calexico arrangements, Joey Burns harmonizing with Sam Beam via a whisper. “Father Mountain” is an acoustic Gospel number with references to a ‘mansion on a mountain’, the harmonies giving the tune a tripped-out Everly Brothers vibe. Desert psychedelia abounds in the instrumental bridge of “Outside El Paso” and “The Bitter Suite (Pajaro/Evil Eye/Tennessee Train)” is believable as a score for a modern spaghetti western. Whispered harmonies return in the title track, a solemn and beautiful ballad where Sam Beam’s hushed vocals back up Joey Burns. Album closer, “In Your Own Time”, is a warm love song where the narrator states ‘don’t be scared if I walk with the devil, run down the mountain and ask for your hand’, the beauty of the song occurring lyrically underscored by a meandering piano rambles.
Listen and buy the music of Calexico and Iron & Wine from AMAZON