On a chilly fall night, Atlanta’s historic Buckhead Theatre hosted an unforgettable, marathon performance by Iron & Wine. The show was a sort of homecoming for frontman Sam Beam, who grew up a few hours from Atlanta, and he delivered a two-hour, 24-song set for the invitation-only audience of 500. The eleven-piece band played virtually all of Iron & Wine’s fourth album, Kiss Each Other Clean, plus favorites like “Naked as We Came” and “Boy with a Coin,” before Beam closed the remarkable night with a luminous solo version of the brand-new “Flightless Bird, American Mouth,” from the Twilight: Breaking Dawn soundtrack.
Since the 2002 release of his intimate debut album, The Creek Drank The Cradle, Sam Beam — who records and performs under the name Iron & Wine — has established himself as one of the preeminent storytellers in music. His 2004 sophomore album, Our Endless Numbered Days, was a critical success and led to a busy 2005, in which Beam released two EPs (including one with fellow Artists Den alums Calexico). In 2007, The Shepherd’s Dog was in the Top Ten of Paste Magazine’s list of the year’s 100 best albums. January 2011 saw the release of Iron & Wine’s fourth album, Kiss Each Other Clean. The effort is Beam’s first with Warner Bros Records, and continues Iron & Wine’s evolution from its lo-fi roots to an expanded sound, featuring a full seven-piece band accompanying Beam’s signature understated vocals.
The historic Buckhead Theatre opened its doors for the first time in June of 1930 and established itself as the figurehead for Buckhead entertainment. After several decades as a first-run movie-house and a host for live shows, the Buckhead dropped its original title and became primarily a concert venue. Its name changed multiple times over the years, but the theater’s most well known incarnation was as The Roxy, a popular venue which held countless sold-out performances by some of the most legendary names in music of the time. In 2008, the Roxy closed for renovation due to decades of wear and tear from boisterous crowds and late nights, and reopened two years later, in June of 2010, again as The Buckhead Theatre, amid great excitement from the community. The theatre immediately reestablished itself not only as the go-to venue for live music in Buckhead (within the first year it hosted sold out shows by popular acts such as Mumford and Sons, The Indigo Girls, and the Drive-By Truckers), but as a flexible space that also hosts a variety of events including lectures, comedy, and theater.