The Creek Drank the Cradle
The debut album from Florida singer/songwriter Sam Beam is comprised of home demos that accentuate the haunted, forlorn vibe of Beam's warm, whispery voice. The occasional slide guitar or banjo aside, these are sparsely adorned acoustic guitar vignettes that wouldn't sound out of place in Simon & Garfunkel's catalog or as contemporaries with the songbooks of James Taylor, Jackson Browne, and Joni Mitchell. There are no attempts at punk dissonance, or at recreating the feeling of an old Folkways field recording, as often befalls acoustic performers working in the indie-rock realm. Rich in harmonies and sweet, swaying rhythms ("Bird Stealing Bread"), with strong nods to obvious influences (Nick Drake for "Faded From the Winter"), Creek is one of the finest folk albums of the early 21st century.