After ‘Years to Burn,’ NC’s Iron and Wine reunites with Calexico for album, tour

Calexico and Iron & Wine are releasing “Years to Burn.” From left are Joey Burns, Sam Beam and John Convertino.
Calexico and Iron & Wine are releasing “Years to Burn.” From left are Joey Burns, Sam Beam and John Convertino.

For singer-songwriter Sam Beam, time seems to fly.

“There are projects I want to do, or work with people again, and it gets so tough because there isn’t time for everything,” Beam said in a phone interview, calling from his Hillsborough home.

Beam is perhaps better known by his recording name, the Grammy-nominated Iron & Wine. He recorded the 2005 EP “In the Reins” with the Arizona-based Americana band, and had hoped to return to the studio with his pals.

Fifteen years have passed, but Iron & Wine and Calexico have reunited to record the aptly titled, “Years to Burn.” The album will be released June 14.

Iron and Wine Calexico.jpeg
“Years to Burn” by Iron and Wine and Calexico will be released June 14, 2019.

“We always talked about getting back together,” Beam said. “Every now and again, we would hop up onstage and talk about doing something, and then it finally happened.”

On June 18, they’ll perform at the Haw River Ballroom in Saxapahaw before embarking on a tour that will take them on a tour before heading back to Calexico’s Arizona home.

“I love that venue,” Beam says. “I shot a live concert there that I’m still editing. Playing a hometown show at the Ballroom is a great way to start this tour with Calexico.”

“Years to Burn” is a combination of Beam’s sparse folk and Calexico’s Southwestern-flavored rock. But the songs are looser and more laid back than “In the Reins” cuts.

“We’ve all grown and evolved,” Beam said. “We were up for taking some chances and not being so precious about things. Sometimes you want to make songs so perfect and you might polish the songs too much. We didn’t do that with this album.”

Beam moved to Hillsborough from Austin five years ago with his wife and five daughters, who range from 9 to 21 years old.

“We love it here,” Beam says. “It’s an inspiring place. There are so many brainiacs, since we have all of the universities. There’s always cultural events and there are great restaurants. I love Mother & Sons Trattoria for Italian. Pizzeria Toro for pizza, and Lantern is amazing as well. Moving here is one of the best things I ever did. It was great getting back toward the East Coast and it’s a great place to raise a family.”

Expect the Haw River Ballroom show to be reminiscent of the Billy Joel-Elton John combo tours.

“We’re going to swap out each other’s songs,” Beam says. “It will be kind of like those Billy Joel and Elton John concerts when they try each other’s songs. I’m looking forward to singing some Calexico songs and I’m more than happy to just play along with Iron & Wine songs. Of course we’re going to play quite a bit of “Years to Burn” and songs from the EP. It’s going to be just a fun tour but it’s also going to be a very special night when we play the Haw River Ballroom. We’re going to play what the fans want to hear and what they should hear. We’re going to do all that we can to make it a fun night and to never be boring.”


Who: Iron & Wine and Calexico with guest Daughter of Swords

When: 8 p.m. June 18

Where: Haw River Ballroom, 1711 Saxapahaw-Bethlehem Church Road, Saxapahaw

Tickets: $35.

Info: 336-525-2314 or hawriverballroom.com

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