Musical Pairings: Iron & Wine - The Shepherd's Dog - Turntable Kitchen
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Musical Pairings: Iron & Wine – The Shepherd’s Dog

Kasey’s Creamy White Grits with Chanterelle Mushrooms recipe is total comfort food. It’s warming, easy to prepare, and just bursting with flavor. So if you’re having a bad day and want a yummy meal that will fill your belly and is easy to whip together, this is your recipe. Of course, as always, you are going to need a “comfort album” to soundtrack your meal. After all, like comfort food, studies have shown that listening to music can have a tremendous effect in mood regulation. It gets us pumped in the morning and relaxed in the evening. And in my experience, aside from pharmaceuticals, nothing calms me down like the combination of a hearty and flavorful meal, a glass of good wine and a laid-back album. For that, I recommend Iron & Wine’s The Shepherd’s Dog as a perfect “comfort album.” It is hearty, satisfying, and relaxing. While it’s not challenging music, it is also not boring or predictable. This is what “chill” sounds like without the “wave.”

I’ll confess, we’ve used this album for a pairing before – although quite awhile ago. Nonetheless, the sonic palette that Sam Beam and Co. borrow from on this album are warm, autumnal and very “organic” sounding – making it a great album to dust off again now that we have reached the Fall months. And if you do come back to it from time to time, you’ll probably notice that it is an exceptionally great album to return to. It never really grows stale and repeatedly offers new surprises. Beam borrows elements from a vast range of diverse musical traditions and genres creating a very distinctive patchwork of an album. It can remind you of your favorite soul album one moment, your favorite folk album the next, and your favorite psychedelic rock record only moments later. All the while, elements of tropicália, dub, country, bluegrass and traditional West African music are simultaneously woven throughout the album’s core. Yet despite all of these disparate elements, it keeps a steady flow from start to finish, never lapsing into digression or wandering off point. I find that this mix of diversity of influence and solidarity of mood means that the album can nearly always find ways to satisfy regardless of what you’re hungry for. In other words, this is the album you want when you are tired, downbeat or just worn-out from a long day. The odds are you’ll feel fully recharged by the time you’ve reached the final notes of “Flightless Bird, American Mouth.”

Iron & Wine – Flightless Bird, American Mouth

Head to the Kitchen to read Kasey’s Creamy Grits with Chanterelle Mushrooms recipe. Then go to Insound to buy The Shepherd’s Dog.