Weekends in high school, I’d stay up late playing guitar, and then I’d watch Austin City Limits. Though I’ve visited the KLRU studio twice before, last night was my first time seeing live music there. I couldn’t have asked for a better show than Iron and Wine.
I’ve been a fan of Sam Beam (who now lives in Dripping Springs, about 20 miles SW of Austin) since I was in college, when his first album came out. He sounded like a southern Elliott Smith, whispering hushed songs from his bedroom. Each album of his has gotten better and better, adding more players, more instruments, more rhythms and intricate parts. The band last night was a downright funky bunch of eight musicians—the core was Sam on vocals/various guitars (he’s a fantastic finger-picker) and his sister Sarah on backing vocals/violin, filled out with Calexico pedal steel virtuoso Paul Niehaus, a Rhodes/piano player, a bassist, a drummer, percussionist, and guitarist/vibe player. (I wonder how many of the musicians were local…if anybody knows, please comment!)
I didn’t draw too much or take down a setlist because I was having too much fun drinking free beer and enjoying the music and Meg and watching the people and the lights and the camera booms swing around. However, there is a funny story behind this drawing:
When I saw the pedal steel player come out on stage before the set to tune up, I doodled this little cartoon. I love the sound of pedal steel. Meg bought me a lap steel a couple Christmas’s ago, but I still haven’t mastered it (I’m a decent guitarist, but not great on slide). I didn’t recognize him as Paul Niehaus of Calexico (huge fan). Later in the concert, Sam announced that it would be their last show with Paul for a while, so for the rest of the show, people shouted “Paul!” and Sam encouraged us all to “give another hand for Paul.”
The pedal steel player was the most popular guy in the room!
The show airs on November 15th. Don’t miss it!