Joey Burns and John Convertino had just about seen it all. Their band, Calexico, has been around for nearly a quarter-century, and in that time together they've churned out a long string of albums and collaborated with countless musicians on countless projects. But they'd never set foot behind the Tiny Desk until the day we recorded this performance.
By contrast, their pal Sam Beam — best known as the man behind Iron & Wine, with whom Calexico had just released a new album called Years to Burn — was already a Tiny Desk veteran. Beam recorded a solo set as Iron & Wine in 2011, then returned with singer-songwriter Jesca Hoop six years later, and he took great pains to gently tease the Calexico guys for taking so long. ("It's fun to be back," he noted between songs, adding, "Isn't it, Joey?")
Of course, "taking so long" is a part of this particular project's M.O. Calexico and Iron & Wine first made a record together back in 2005, when they released In the Reins, and took 14 years to release a follow-up. This set perfectly captures the easy patience of their interplay, as Burns, Convertino, Beam and a few of their most trusted collaborators performed two songs from Years to Burn. Then, as a reminder of the adage about good things coming to those who wait, they closed with "He Lays in the Reins," for a Tiny Desk debut more than a decade in the making.
Sam Beam: guitar, vocals; Joey Burns: guitar, vocals; John Convertino: drums, percussion; Robert Burger: keys, guitar; Sebastian Steinberg: bass, guitar; Jacob Valenzuela: trumpet, vocals
Producers: Stephen Thompson, Bob Boilen, Morgan Noelle Smith; Creative Director: Bob Boilen; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Morgan Noelle Smith, Jeremiah Rhodes, Bronson Arcuri, Beck Harlan; Associate Producer: Bobby Carter; Production Assistant: Paul Georgoulis; Photo: Shuran Huang/NPR
You won’t find a paywall here. Come as often as you like — we’re not counting. You’ve found a like-minded tribe that cherishes what a free press stands for. If you can spend another couple of minutes making a pledge of as little as $5, you’ll feel like a superhero defending democracy for less than the cost of a month of Netflix.