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The Shepherd's Dog
Display Artist
Iron & Wine
Sub Pop Records
Catalogue Number
Release Date
September 25, 2007

Iron & Wine’s release (not including the collaborative In the Reins EP which featured songs by Iron and Wine’s Sam Beam and performances by both Iron and Wine and Calexico together) was 2005’s Woman King, a 6-song EP which distinguished itself from its predecessors with a deepening integration of spiraling, dense opuses with intimate confessionals. On The Shepherd’s Dog this integration is complete. Sam Beam has confessed to finding spiritual inspiration in Tom Waits’ pièce de résistance, Swordfishtrombones, an album with which Waits upended his previous strategies and forged a new musical language for himself. Recorded by Sam with the assistance of longtime producer Brian Deck and engineer Colin Studebaker, The Shepherd’s Dog succeeds in accomplishing a similar cathartic recasting of the artist’s intentions. The arrangements here are kaleidoscopic and rich. “White Tooth Man” rocks with a desperate, menacing intensity while "Boy with a Coin,” the album’s first single, is darkly playful with a handclap hook tumbling under its cascading melody. The whole album breathes. Its seductive rhythms percolate and undulate, from the Psych-Bhangra-redux of “Pagan Angel and a Borrowed Car” to the album’s last dance—a waltz—"Flightless Bird, American Mouth.” Compositionally, it is Iron and Wine’s most ambitious and accomplished recording to date. It’s also the most satisfying.

Digital Tracklist

  1. 1 Pagan Angel and a Borrowed Car 4:32 Buy

    Pagan Angel and a Borrowed Car

  2. 2 White Tooth Man 3:57 Buy

    White Tooth Man

  3. 3 Lovesong of the Buzzard 4:26 Buy

    Lovesong of the Buzzard

  4. 4 Carousel 4:02 Buy


  5. 5 House By the Sea 4:21 Buy

    House By the Sea

  6. 6 Innocent Bones 3:42 Buy

    Innocent Bones

  7. 7 Wolves (Song of the Shepherd's Dog) 4:57 Buy

    Wolves (Song of the Shepherd's Dog)

  8. 8 Resurrection Fern 4:49 Buy

    Resurrection Fern

  9. 9 Boy With a Coin 4:05 Buy

    Boy With a Coin

  10. 10 The Devil Never Sleeps 2:06 Buy

    The Devil Never Sleeps

  11. 11 Peace Beneath the City 4:45 Buy

    Peace Beneath the City

  12. 12 Flightless Bird, American Mouth 4:01 Buy

    Flightless Bird, American Mouth

Iron & Wine

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