In 2005, Calexico and Iron & Wine released the collaborative 7-song EP In the Reins, a startlingly good album that seemed to contain all the character of both artists as well as something wholly new, amplifying both of their prodigious gifts as musicians in the bargain. As Pitchfork put it in a glowing review, “Calexico’s sense of cinematic grandeur and eclecticism imbues Beam’s melodies and lyrics with an expansiveness that his humid Floridian folk doesn’t usually have. Shades of jazz and country creep in, and they even tackle straight ahead California pop … The only ingredients from Calexico’s usual recipe that are absent are dub and mariachi, but they employ their arsenal so sympathetically to Beam’s vision that an unschooled listener might never guess that this wasn’t a proper, working band.”

On June 14th they will release Years to Burn, a much-longed-for follow-up, and the buzz is deafening. On the FreshGrass stage the two bands will play as one — Sam Beam of Iron & Wine and Joey Burns and John Convertino of Calexico abetted by a group of exceptional musicians and frequent collaborators — revisiting music from the first record, from each of their individual catalogs, and from Years to Burn.

“Beam sounds comfortable and at ease, and just the right amount of weathered.” – No Depression

“From mariachi to punk and psychedelic rock, Calexico shows us that the threads that truly do tie us all together don’t necessarily come from the same cloth. And that’s what makes us hold onto them even tighter, especially in the darkest of times.” – No Depression

Sam Beam is a singer-songwriter who has been creating music as Iron & Wine for over a decade. Through the course of seven albums, numerous EPs and singles, and the initial volumes of an Archive Series – Iron & Wine has captured the emotion and imagination of listeners with distinctly cinematic songs.

Calexico are: Joey Burns, John Convertino, Martin Wenk, Jacob Valenzuela, Sergio Mendoza, Jairo Zavala Ruiz, and Scott Colberg. The ninth studio album from Calexico, The Thread That Keeps Us is a timely snapshot of the Arizona-bred band: a family portrait capturing their stylistic variety and unpredictability while still finding solace in limitless creativity. In bringing the album to life, vocalist/guitarist Joey Burns and drummer John Convertino found a spiritual home in unusual surroundings—not in Arizona, but on the Northern California coast in a home-turned-studio called the Panoramic House. Built from debris and shipyard-salvaged timber—and dubbed “The Phantom Ship” by the band—the grandiose house and its edge-of-the-world-like ambience soon made their way into the songs. The specter of California also had a powerful effect: as both dream state and nightmare, its infinite duality is mirrored in the music, giving Calexico a new direction and new edge. With less polish and more grit than ever before, The Thread That Keeps Us both honors enduring traditions and reveals Calexico’s confidence in songwriting, ultimately setting a whole new standard for the band.

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