Music & Nightlife

Folk duo teams up to go deep on covers

Band of Horses’ Ben Bridwell and Iron & Wine’s Sam Beam released a collaborative covers album “Sing Into My Mouth” Friday that finds the revered Carolina-based folk-rock singer-songwriters covering an eclectic group of artists like John Cale, Talking Heads, Spiritualized, and the Marshall Tucker Band. The Observer spoke to Bridwell on Wednesday about the duo’s history, the album and tour, which brings them to the Fillmore Tuesday.

Q: I noticed Irmo and Chapin, South Carolina where you and Sam are from originally are close on the map. Is that how you met?

A: We grew up in tandem but without knowing one another until I had moved away. Michael, my brother and Sam were good friends throughout high school. They’re about four or five years older than me. I came home for Christmas and I think Sam was crashing on my brother’s couch or something. We hung out and had similar taste in music and an affinity for talking about it. We became fast friends.

Q: How long did this project stew?

A: The first time I ever played guitar on stage was with Iron & Wine in Seattle, with just Sam. He came to play at Crocodile Café. I was a dishwasher there. He asked if someone would come up and accompany him on guitar. My buddy was like why don’t you let Ben do it. That was part of the seed 16 years ago or something. I think I’m Sam’s biggest fan. I would say the project has been ongoing for the minute I heard his stuff.

Q: Have your bands toured together before?

A: We have. The first time Band of Horses did a national tour was with Iron and Wine. This would’ve been 2005 or 2004. Before we had any release out to sell… They exposed us to a lot of the clubs we came to headline in our own right. We’ll visit those same towns now and no one knew about us at all (then).

Q: The covers you chose are obscure enough that most listeners aren’t bringing in a lot of expectations of what it’s going to sound like instead of you choosing the same old artists and songs to cover you have room to make it your own.

A: To cover the Beatles or some of the more obvious biggest bands in the world is an exercise in futility at best. It wasn’t like we were trying to be clever. More than anything the selections are made from a historical standpoint of the stuff that got Sam and I fired up when we were talking about music even that first night we met.

Q: Will you be doing your own songs as well as those from the album?

A: We’re covering each other and bringing new life, for better or worse, to each other’s songs. I think the show is going to be more exciting than people might realize.

Q: What’s next for Band of Horses?

A: We’re done with our new record. It just has to be mixed correctly. There’s new babies coming within the family. So we’re just going to ride out this year, making sure the album is to where we like it, have some babies, not go on tour and gear up for a big push around Spring of next year.

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