Calexico bring their sumptuous Americana to the South Bank

By Christopher Knowles
November 23 2019, 11.36

Calexico’s onstage line up at tonight’s prestigious EFG London Jazz Festival will include the members of another of America’s most affecting musial exports, Iron and Wine. 

Calexico’s collaboration with Sam Beam of Iron and Wine began fourteen years ago and has produced an absorbing sound that combines the charatersistic energy and texture of Calexico’s output with the poise and depth of Beam’s expression and lyricicism.

Joey Burns explains that Sam Beam and Calexico had taken a little break but ‘now we’re back’. On their latest album, Years To Burn, which was released in June, Calexico have sought a ‘raw expression musically and lyrically’ and it is a testament to the musicianship in their band they have have managed to comine the intimacy of Sam Beam’s craft with the expansive sound of Calexico.

At the beginning of their work together Joey said it was a concern that Sam Beam’s ‘hushed and delicate’ approach might be ‘overwhelmed’ but in fact Calexico allows Sam Beam a platform, providing layers of intricacy and tone, which heighten the impact of his vocal.

It might seem strange that Calexico are performing at a jazz festival given their commitment to the folk and country genres. However, they are veterans of the jazz festival circuit and have performed at the Montreux Festival and the North Sea Jazz Festival in recent years. This date on the South Bank will be a highlight of the EFG London Jazz Festival and as it is Calexico’s only London show for the foreseeable future it is not to be missed.    

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