Calexico and Iron & Wine’s first collaboration since 2005 feels warm and familiar

Words by Mary Gleeko

It’s been 14 years since the artists first teamed up.

Calexico and Iron & Wine first collaborated in 2005 with the EP In the Reins, sparking a connection that begged further exploration. Fast-forward some 14 years and Sam Beam of Iron & Wine has reunited with Calexico lads Joey Burns and John Convertino to create Years to Burn, the first full-length album credited to both bands.

Years to Burn was recorded in Nashville with producer Matt Ross-Spang over the course of five days. The result: a beautiful eight track recording that feels like a conversation with an old friend – warm, familiar, and stimulating. 

The album’s first single ‘Father Mountain’ immediately sets the heart soaring with its sweet, jangly harmonies while title track ‘Years to Burn’ rumbles with an intensity both wistful and stirring as it progresses through a gentle kind of lessons-learnt nostalgia.

Musically, this album is as good as alt folk-rock gets, with the added intrigue of some experimental jazz thrown in. The layering and arrangements throughout are exquisite and Beam’s stunning voice is lifted to new heights with the help of his collaborators and their spectacularly lush harmonies.

Years to Burn is a mature album made by three musicians with nothing to prove but so much to share.