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  1. Musical Pairings: Iron & Wine (paired with skillet chanterelle mushrooms and potatoes)

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    Today’s recipe is an adaptation of one of Kasey’s mom’s recipes. Earthy, forest-y sauteed chanterelle mushrooms are added to sauteed onions and lightly crisped fingerling potatoes. It is simple, but delicious and hearty. Similarly, Iron & Wine’s 2002 debut album, The Creek Drank The Cradle, is earthy and musically simple. The album is written, recorded and performed entirely by Sam Beam. Musically, it features nothing more than Beam’s soft, woodsy vocals; his gentle acoustic guitar strumming; and the occasional slide guitar or banjo plucking. It is intimate, emotionally evocative and hands down one of the top debut albums of the entire decade.

    The Creek Drank The Cradle unfolds with a crisp, beautiful acoustic guitar melody that gently bobs forward accompanied by an accenting slide guitar before the song concludes with sharp banjo plucking on the stunningly lovely opener, “Lion’s Mane.” The closing banjo rhythm on “Lion’s Mane” is one example of what keeps the album so compelling: not only is Beam’s voice warm and intimate, but the compositions are multi-layered but thoughtfully sparse without being unnecessarily thrifty. Beam clearly knows when to add that final touch to a cut to keep it interesting. Evidence of this gift can be found on every portion of this album. The short chugging rhythm and Beam’s soothing vocal melodies on “Upwards Over the Mountain” are complimented by soft, muffled hand-claps at the beginning and end of the song, but deftly jettisoned in the middle portion of the tune. Of course, Beam’s voice itself is one of the album’s best selling points. Beam’s falsetto is at peak form on the rolling, grassy “Southern Anthem.” Every song on this album is breathtaking. The vinyl release rewards record collectors with a bonus 7″ that includes two fantastic b-sides. Get it at Insound or Amazon.

    Iron & Wine – Upward Over The Mountain
    Iron & Wine – Dead Man’s Will (Live at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival 10/5/2008)

    Head back to eating/sf to read the recipe for skillet chanterelle mushrooms and potatoes.