On May 7th, Archive Series Volume No.5: Tallahassee Recordings, the lost-in-time debut album from Iron & Wine, will be unveiled. A recently unearthed collection of songs recorded over a two-year (1998-99) period during which Iron & Wine’s Sam Beam attended Florida State University’s College of Motion Picture Arts.
Three years later, Iron & Wine would issue The Creek Drank the Cradle and begin a run of records widely praised as being part of a new blueprint in the singer-songwriter genre. Tallahassee doesn’t attempt to re-write history but instead aims to document the very first steps in Beam’s journey to becoming one of America’s most original and distinctive artists.
Take a listen to new single ‘Calm On The Valley’, below…
The eleven-song collection was culled from a number of recordings that had been (mostly) forgotten by Beam himself but had been preserved by former roommate and one-time Iron & Wine member, EJ Holowicki. Holowicki, who went on to work as a sound designer at Skywalker Sound, was a catalyst in making sure Beam documented these songs while the two were roommates in a house on St. Augustine St. near campus. In addition to serving as both engineer and bassist, Holowicki also worked as archival producer in preparing the tracks for official release.
Tallahassee, with its sparse instrumental canvas and live-in one-room takes, is very much akin to early Iron & Wine releases, The Creek Drank the Cradle, The Sea & The Rhythm, and In The Reins. From the wandering country-esque tempo of “Calm on the Valley” to the more mid-tempo Harvest-era vibe of “This Solemn Day”, the seeds of the portrait of an artist as a young man are all present. While still in its formative stages, the lyrical imagery and intimate musical nature that has become a trademark of the Iron & Wine “sound” is present and represented throughout Tallahassee.
Early music file-sharers have long claimed ownership of a number of early Iron & Wine recordings, many that still have yet to be officially released. While this record will not quite correct all the wrongs of the early days of the internet, it will fill in many of the blanks for long-time fans.