Long before the world fell in love with the music of Iron & Wine, and even before he knew that he wanted a career in music, Sam Beam knew that he loved making things. His parents, who didn’t necessarily understand their artsy kid but wanted to support him, kept Sam well-supplied in drawing paper and art supplies so that his imagination could run free. Sam knew that he was different from other kids but that didn’t bother him. In his early days of making music, Sam obsessively honed his skills as a producer so that he could present the most polished songs possible. It wasn’t until later that he realized that live performance was just as important a part of his craft. Following his own curiosity has enabled Sam to remain intellectually energized throughout two decades of touring and releasing music.
One thing you might not know about Iron & Wine is that he has worked with the same manager for his entire career. When he met Howard Greynolds, Sam’s music career was just beginning to take off. Howard quickly proved that he cared more about the music than about getting money and credit. Their relationship has deepened and evolved over the years as Iron & Wine has become one of the most beloved singer-songwriters in folk music, and the music industry has reinvented itself in the age of streaming.
Iron & Wine is notoriously private and mysterious, but that might be about to change with the release of Who Can See Forever, a meditative documentary. The project started as a concert film but the director, Josh Sliffe, was able to convince Sam to sit for a series of interviews reflecting on his life, his work, parenthood, creativity, craft, and legacy. Those conversations find Sam looking back but mostly looking forward with curiosity and acceptance.
Photo Credit: Josh Wool