Preview: Sam Beam & Jessica Hoop
June 4, 2016 @ The Neptune Theatre
By Adam Lawrence
It’s easy to view Sam Beam’s career as Iron & Wine divided into two parts – the early, solo bedroom recordings full of earnest melodies and cryptic parables, then the records with fuller sound and collaborative efforts. Longtime fans are more divided by the latter, preferring the hushed intimacy of Beam and his guitar to the robust carnival of his more recent albums.
Beam continues the collaborations with his latest effort, Love Letter for Fire, released as a duets album with singer/songwriter/former nanny to Tom Waits Jesca Hoop. It’s the second duets album in a row for Beam, coming on the heels of last year’s ultimately disappointing effort with Ben Bridwell, Sing Into My Mouth.
Love Letter is significantly more successful, eschewing headscratching covers for original songs. Although Beam and Hoop share songwriting credit, that’s mostly for show. It’s easy to pick out Hoop’s eclectic experiments from Beam’s tried and true tracks. Preference is a matter of the listener’s taste, but they complement one another perfectly throughout.
Beam and Hoop showcase Love Letter for Fire at the Neptune, June 4.