New and Notable Releases

Rating: NNNN

The recordings that wound up being Iron & Wine’s The Creek Drank The Cradle debut were actually home demos Sam Beam was planning to pass to Calexico’s Joey Burns and John Convertino so they could be his rhythm section. That session never happened, but judging from the current summit, it probably worked out for the best – Beam’s writing better songs and Calexico are much more adept at backing singer/songwriters. Beam also takes full advantage of the fact that Calexico’s expanded into an 11-piece on this beautifully realized seven-track set, which is the greatest thing he’s ever done. Like all the best collabos, the deep, dark In The Reins is a whole lot more than the mere sum of its parts. There’s a ghostly magic in Tucson, and these hombres have tapped it.

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