The only thing more warm and fuzzy than Iron and Wine frontman Sam Beam's beard is his egalitarian approach to his concerts. As previously reported, Iron and Wine will soon begin a small 2009 tour in support of a new rarities album, Around the Well. Although Sub Pop has assured fans that the performances would be intimate, it seems that Beam has taken fan involvement a step further with the “All Request” poll.
The online voting system allows fans to cast their ballots for each show's setlist, giving voters up to 10 song choices. The songs span the entirety of Beam's recording career, from his 2002 debut, The Creek Drank the Cradle, to the acclaimed 2007 album, The Shepherd's Dog.
If it's starting to sound like Beam is taking a page from American Idol's book, read on. Fans who can't make it out for one of the ten Iron and Wine performances can catch the re-runs by heading to Played Last Night, where each show will be professionally mixed and uploaded within days. Sure, it's not the same as being there, but it's not like you'll be missing out on any insane moshing. The concert files are compressed without sacrificing audio quality, so you'll still be able to hear every last wistful strum of Beam's guitar. The site does charge around $15 for the downloadable files, but it's less than the cost of a ticket (insert recession joke here).
News: Iron and Wine to release rarities
Around the Well at Sub Pop Records