Indie rock touchstones Iron & Wine and Calexico have teamed for a seven-song EP, "In the Reins," which will be released Sept. 20 via Overcoat Recordings.
Indie rock touchstones Iron & Wine and Calexico have teamed for a seven-song EP, "In the Reins," which will be released Sept. 20 via Overcoat Recordings. The two acts are also planning a collaborative tour, which will hit the West Coast in October and visit the East Coast in December.
"We've actually been trying to do this project for a couple of years," Iron & Wine principal Sam Beam tells Billboard.com. "Calexico's tour schedule is pretty intense, but we finally did it. We ended up using some of my old songs that either didn't make it on my first two records or were out and about on the Internet. We tried to reinterpret them in new ways for people that may have heard them already."
"Sam was very adamant for this project not to sound like his previous recordings," Calexico's Joey Burns tells Billboard.com. "We had an idea where he was going with [the 2004 EP 'Woman King"] and it was easy for us to see where we could add John Convertino's drumming, the kind of jazz-like brushwork. We also knew could hold down the fort with upright bass, minimal guitars and some pedal steel" from Lambchop's Paul Neihaus.
Other guests on the EP include vocalist Salvador Duran, who sings on opener "He Lays in Reins." Burns singles out the track "Burn That Broken Bed" as an example of how Beam pushed a song into more experimental territory than Calexico would have expected.
"It's a very spacey, moody number that floats on two chords," Burns says. "So immediately John and I thought it would be great to get our trumpet player, Jacob Valenzuela, to do some muted trumpet, Miles Davis-type of soloing. Jacob did one pass, and then another. In the rough mix, we kept both of them going, thinking we'd pick one, but Sam liked the way both trumpet lines sounded together. He really wanted to push that definition of it being completely different."
Both acts are itching to hit the road together, with Beam admitting, "We're trying to do something in the tradition of Bob Dylan's Rolling Thunder Revue." The plan is for Iron & Wine and Calexico to perform separate sets, and then team up for a performance to close the show. Special guests are also in the offing.
"We'd love to have Richard Buckner in New York, and maybe the Shins on the West Coast," Burns says. "It would be great to have those acts do something solo acoustic and then come back later to do some songs together with us. By putting out the word ahead of time, I know we'll get a lot of people wanting to come down and collaborate."
Here is the track list for "In the Reins":
"He Lays in the Reins"
"Prison on Route 41"
"History of Lovers"
"16, Maybe Less"
"Burn That Broken Bed"
"Dead Man's Will"