Appropriately enough for a movement birthed around a campfire, the angsty, check shirted strain of American roots music that went global with Bon Iver’s For Emma, Forever Ago began as wisps of improvisation.
When Sam Beams recorded his first album The Creek Drank The Cradle in 2002 using little more than his guitar and some rudimentary production tools, he was rubbing against the grain of progress, ignoring the technological fibs which make him sound like an army; instead, on it his voice and strings barely rose above a whisper.
Three years later word of mouth had given Our Endless Numbered Days a platform for expectation, one which the singer didn’t waste. Recruiting his sister for hazy, subliminal backing vocals and a band adding the gentlest of bone, it was a record that steeped in arcana – Naked As We Came about death as a fact of life – but with a joyous sobriety and velvet Southern Gothic tones.
Remarkably, Our Endless Numbered Days would go on to sell well over half a million copies worldwide, showing that its’ charms translated beyond domesticity. Fifteen years on from its release the additional material now included comes in the form of a number of demo versions, each showing a different, darker aspect that harks back to the cobwebbed vibe of the album’s predecessor.
You can read a full review here.