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Iron & Wine at Music Tastes Good 2016, September 24th. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.

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RECAP: There are a few moments in life that you just want time to stop so that you can bask in the peace or excitement of the moment. That was the case for me while seeing Iron and Wine perform at Music Tastes Good. His music has gotten me through some of the most challenging times of my life, and also enhanced some of my most joyous moments. Not many musicians have the ability to play both roles with such perfection.

Iron & Wine at Music Tastes Good 2016, September 24th. Setlist.Sam Beam, otherwise known as Iron and Wine, quietly appeared center stage with a glass of red wine that he placed on the stool beside him. His gentle grounded energy filled the stage. The soft smoke from the smoke machine that gently floated around him enhanced the ambiance as he addressed the packed audience, “You guys ready to get mellow?” Applause and cheers of affirmation accompanied the lead-in to his first song, “Woman King.”

He has a gently grounded energy that is infectious. His laid-back polished style was enhanced with his familiar beard, tailored suit and loafers with no socks. His high notes exquisitely whispered through the air. It was as if time stood still and all of a sudden the show was over. It was hard to believe that 50 minutes passed so quickly.

His ability to connect his fans was flawless. There were times throughout the set where the audience was silent, hanging on every word, every note. He charmingly added some commentary and funny asides like, “that was a spooky one … a spooky one” after playing “Low Light Buddy of Mine”, or “that’s a weird one, that’s ok” after “Carousel.” “Stranger Lay Beside Me”, was introduced as a funky song, “It’s a fun song, so fuck it, I’ll play it anyway,” and with a giggle he did.

“That’s a fun one, but a lot of words though. You guys got all that? A lot of words. Fuck words.”

The crowd loved it. The security guard beside me who claimed before the show that the style wasn’t his type of music turned to me with a huge smile, “This is my new favorite band.”  He continued to woo the crowd with the mellifluous melodies and humble humor, and before you knew it, his time on stage drew to a close.  He ended up closing the set with on of my favorites, “Boy With A Coin”, and I thought my night was complete, and that it couldn’t possibly get any better … but it did.

I ended up meeting Sam Beam.

After about 13 years of jokingly chiding my brother-in-law for not telling me about his mixing an Iron and Wine album until about after the fact, I finally got the opportunity to meet him. There are those people when upon meeting them you know that there is something special about them. You just feel better in their mere presence. Very few possess that quality, many strive for it, and some are fortunate to encounter it. Sam Beam has it. He was even more gracious and humble than I imagined.

A few people were talking with him and taking some snapshots for posterity. There was such an affable quality about him that one fan invited him to go for a burrito with her group and another asked if he would like to join them to watch the last 1/2 hour of The Specials. His fans offers was a testament to the impact the vulnerability his music has on his fans; the music becomes part of you. He graciously declined the offers. Another guy took the opportunity to say a heartfelt thank you because his music got him through the hardest year of his life. I feel fortunate to have witnessed that exchange; I have a feeling that resonates with many people — it does with me. I had a brief conversation with him where I quickly mentioned the story about my brother-in-law. Upon our salutation, with grace and dignity, he smiled, “tell your brother-in-law, tell Shawn, I said hi.”

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