“Life is hard. Awesome. And scary as shit. But it can lift you up if you let it,” These are the things Sam & Joey write about now. And the title can encapsulate a lot of things. ‘Years to Burn’ could mean you’re cocky, you’ve got it made. Or, our life is ours to burn, to be inspired. Or you’re burned by life, brutalized. It’s an ambiguous title, because life is complicated. Let’s not talk like teenagers about love, desire, pain, ‘cause we’re not teenagers. And that’s not a bad thing.”
After collaborating in 2005, with the EP ‘In the Reins’ which brought Sam Beam, Joey Burns and John Convertino (aka indie Americana royalty Calexico and Iron & Wine) together this album has been a long time in coming. Fourteen years indeed, and would this album project be just as fulfilling and successful?
The second track answers. ‘Midnight Sun’ has a very evocative opening, with hushed close vocal harmonies, reminiscent of Paul Simon. Calexico & Iron Wine fit together seamlessly with Sam’s vocals blending to the larger ensemble with an almost cinematic quality. The addition of horn lines only enhances and is in sympathy with the song.
At lot of time has passed since their first project, but in that time the desire to work together as friends and mutually respected musicians has always been the plan,and finally in 2018 they could record together. This time they spent 4 days at Calexico’s home town in Tucson. It is a without doubt a different recording to ‘In the Reins’, with both Sam and Joey taking writing credits on this album, the former doing the majority of the songs, with Joey also bringing other creative ideas which you can hear so well particularly in ‘The Bitter Suite’.
While opener What’ Heaven’s left asks the questions, the second track answers. ‘Midnight Sun’ has a very evocative opening, with hushed close vocal harmonies, reminiscent of Paul Simon. Calexico & Iron Wine fit together seamlessly with Sam’s vocals blending to the larger ensemble with an almost cinematic quality. The addition of horn lines only enhances and is in sympathy with the song.
‘Outside El Paso’ is a very atmospheric track, from the get go it evokes such strong imagery with the trumpet and guitar improvisations and technical nuances. I wish I could say that I’ve been there but no…I pictured scenes from my son’s former fixation of the game Red Dead Redemption. Happy times!
The title track starts with Rob Burger’s stunning piano playing and is beautifully honed together with some luscious horn lines. Melancholy and questioning, this track could be a personal anthem. Life is short and hard, somehow, we have to navigate our way through. This is a tremendous.
This collaborative album is a joy to listen to. Friends and musicians working together again with creative and personal fulfillment.
The album is out on June 14th on City Slang and will be touring in the UK from the 18th to the 24th November in Edinburgh, Liverpool, Manchester, Coventry, London and Bexhill- on-Sea.