• Record Label: Sub Pop
  • Release Date: Sep 25, 2007
User Score
9.1

Universal acclaim- based on 58 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 58 out of 58
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 58
  3. Negative: 0 out of 58

Review this album

  1. Your Score
    0 out of 10
    Rate this:
    • 10
    • 9
    • 8
    • 7
    • 6
    • 5
    • 4
    • 3
    • 2
    • 1
    • 0
    • 0
  1. Submit
  2. Check Spelling
  1. Cables
    Nov 25, 2007
    10
    Overtime, it has revealed itself to be my favorite album of the year. Once you surrender yourself to the albums pacing and wordplay, allowing time to take its course and melodies to sink in, it never lets you go.
  2. DanM
    Nov 1, 2007
    10
    I'll just say "ditto" to Kasper S's excellent review. I'm just confounded on why the critics are only lukewarm on this CD.
  3. JoeA
    Oct 15, 2007
    9
    Fantastic album. great transition from stripped down folk music to full bodied sound. i love this man. p.s. paul c is a dick. no disrespect to sufjan.
  4. TheCritic
    Oct 9, 2007
    10
    Only heard 2 songs all the way through on Myspace and decided it was the best folk music in years... this guy knows his stuff (and ok, he does sound a LITTLE like Sufjan Stevens)
  5. ChristianW.
    Sep 26, 2007
    9
    I haven't heard much by Iron & Wine... but this album and the former is absolutely great. I like the mix between experimental folk and the Ali Farka Touré-kind of sound. Certainly an album I could listen to a couple of times... if noget for weeks or months. Sam Beams voice is calm; like someone reading a bedtimestory... so grab the album as soon as you can.
  6. DK
    Oct 11, 2007
    9
    Awesome. Should be on most year end top-10 lists. Anyone who listened to "Woman King" could see this one coming.
  7. ToddW.
    Oct 5, 2007
    9
    We have another contender for album of the year in the latest from Sam Beam. This album sounds like a cousin to something Elliott Smith would have done, with a touch of Creedence-era John Fogerty, run through a maze of Simon and Garfunkel, finished off with a dab of Califone's polyrhythmic junkyard percussion. The man knows his way around melody and lyrics, and his guitar playing is We have another contender for album of the year in the latest from Sam Beam. This album sounds like a cousin to something Elliott Smith would have done, with a touch of Creedence-era John Fogerty, run through a maze of Simon and Garfunkel, finished off with a dab of Califone's polyrhythmic junkyard percussion. The man knows his way around melody and lyrics, and his guitar playing is once again exquisite. Expand
  8. JoãoD.
    Oct 9, 2007
    9
    This is perfectly crafted music by a genuine artist. And his live performances validate this great, great album, making it even better. In contrast with many other great studio albums that bands just can't deliver live.
  9. TrevorV.
    Sep 25, 2007
    10
    A stunning and moving evolution of the closely-guarded seeds scattered 2 albums ago with The Creek Drank The Cradle. Sam Beam is an artist of our time, and this album is the final argument anyone should need for that.
  10. DaveF.
    Nov 27, 2007
    10
    Just gorgeous music. Rich, moving, original - please play South Africa one day senor Beam!
  11. KasperS.
    Oct 17, 2007
    10
    An utter shift from anything Iron & Wine has ever produced in the past, The Shepherd's Dog is a rocking, twanging, flowing, humming, whispering work of great variety. Beam's dustily poetic Southern lyrics & powerful, light melodies have been intertwined in a way that is completely unforeseeable, if his last two albums are anything to go by -- excellent records in their own An utter shift from anything Iron & Wine has ever produced in the past, The Shepherd's Dog is a rocking, twanging, flowing, humming, whispering work of great variety. Beam's dustily poetic Southern lyrics & powerful, light melodies have been intertwined in a way that is completely unforeseeable, if his last two albums are anything to go by -- excellent records in their own right, but nothing like The SHepherd's Dog in many respects. Not to mention the amped-up art direction & Beam's multitalented presence (the painting on the cover is his own handiwork). An incredible album, worth getting into & once there, TSD will sound quite flawless. Expand
  12. GuyH
    Dec 6, 2007
    8
    Intriguing lyrics and a patchwork of different textures that blend perfectly over repeated listens. Innocent Bones and Resurrection Fern are stunning. A couple of slight lulls but with this level of experimentation that is what you expect.
  13. EdM.
    Sep 25, 2007
    10
    Flawless. I love it. Sam has yet to create something that isn't catchy.
  14. MycroftW.
    Sep 27, 2007
    9
    Can't fault this record. Even when he verges on New Orleans Meters-style funk he does it well.
  15. AaronB
    Sep 30, 2007
    8
    Sam Beam has finally married his complex lyrics and subdued vocal delivery to equal musical arrangements. His previous albums clearly displayed his vocal and lyrical prowess. His collaboration with Calexico showed the potential of having a full fledged band to steer his narratives. This album leaves the listener with a subdued joy after each listen.
  16. VincentH.
    Nov 11, 2007
    10
    I really truly love the first 2 albums (like everyone else), but after listening to "The Shepherd's Dog numerous times, I would have to say I think this is his best album yet. There's literally like 1 song that I skip, other than that, this is a masterpiece through-and-through. Beam takes risks both musically and lyrically, and it pays off. In every aspect, from the songs I really truly love the first 2 albums (like everyone else), but after listening to "The Shepherd's Dog numerous times, I would have to say I think this is his best album yet. There's literally like 1 song that I skip, other than that, this is a masterpiece through-and-through. Beam takes risks both musically and lyrically, and it pays off. In every aspect, from the songs themselves to the production to the vocals, are all elevated on this album to a whole other level. If you like indie rock/pop, get this album ASAP. Expand
  17. IsaacA.
    Nov 11, 2007
    10
    Sheer glorious warm brilliance from start to finish. Only the second album of 2007 that my girlfriend and I can agree is brilliant (the first is Mr Hudson & The LIbrary, by the way).
  18. BenjaminC.
    Oct 11, 2007
    10
    I'm not a man of many words, but in the case of this album who needs words! I'm more than happy to just sit and listen to what Sam has to say. Great Work!
  19. AshleyT.
    Dec 11, 2007
    10
    By far the best Iron and Wine album to date.
  20. JordanH.
    Oct 26, 2007
    10
    Beautiful album all the way through. Beam has a style and soul to his music that's all his own. Touchingly honest.
  21. ToddZ.
    Sep 25, 2007
    9
    I think this record is very good. Its no Wilco, but very good.
  22. [Anonymous]
    Sep 25, 2007
    9
    Outstanding album. Full of rich detail and lots of great imagery in the songs. Music is also varied alot which keeps the album from getting boring.
  23. JesseM.
    Sep 25, 2007
    9
    It's difficult to judge a new album by my favorite artist. I didn't think music got more personal, ravaging, and harshly beautiful than Sam Beam's basement debut back in '02. I was almost proven wrong in 2004, but when I realized I liked his sophomore effort for entirely different realized, I found myself loving both. I am proud to say that I fought the temptation to It's difficult to judge a new album by my favorite artist. I didn't think music got more personal, ravaging, and harshly beautiful than Sam Beam's basement debut back in '02. I was almost proven wrong in 2004, but when I realized I liked his sophomore effort for entirely different realized, I found myself loving both. I am proud to say that I fought the temptation to put on my cans with any expectations, and as a result I have been cherishing my copy of The Shepherd's Dog, anyway. It's difficult to judge the album because it's an evolutionary departure from both The Creek Drank the Cradle and Our Endless Numbered Days. He has done what every artist must do: he has grown, expanded, and experimented. Luckily, his results were spectacular. In this album, from the perspective of someone who merely dabbles in this genre, one will find sanctuary in the easily accessible "Resurrection Fern" and the closer "Flightless Bird, American Mouth," both beautiful tracks. To those with deep southern roots will appreciate the darkness of "White Tooth Man" and the near-rockabilly of "The Devil Never Sleeps." And to those, such as myself, who were dying to hear what Sam would get his hands on for his new sounds will not soon be disappointed by the African influences in "Peace Beneath the City," "House by the Sea," and "Wolves." This is a diverse, intelligent, abstract, and moving work of art from one of the best songwriters in the business. This will be 50 minutes well-spent. Trust me. Expand
  24. JoeE.
    Sep 26, 2007
    10
    I was taken aback at my first listen, but I've grown to absolutely love every track. He follows the trajectory he started with Woman King and now knows exactly how to manipulate his sound to fit his purposes. The last track is just so unbelievably perfect. . .
  25. Jw.
    Nov 24, 2007
    10
    I can only disagree that the sound and lyrics are distinctly southern. Truth is, they sound right at home up here in the Pacific Northwest, too. It's a perfect album for fall, and specifically well-suited for cold college towns. Made me wish I was still in school. Top to bottom the best album so far this year - and it's getting late.
  26. Mar 17, 2013
    8
    I disregarded this album for the longest time, But I must admit it's a solid folk/indie/rock record. The lyrics, the vocals, the production, all worthy of noticing. All In All, I'm not the biggest Iron & Wine fan but I do particularly find this record really well-made. B+
Metascore
84

Universal acclaim - based on 34 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 34 out of 34
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 34
  3. Negative: 0 out of 34
  1. More definitive than ever, the rhythm and percussion complement Beam's voice, a lulling, almost eerie tone that occasionally recalls John Lennon's early solo work
  2. The result is a folk album so rich and intricate that, in scope, it's comparable to Van Morrison's "Astral Weeks."
  3. What really stands out is how …Dog literally hits the ground running from its opener, 'Pagan Angel And A Borrowed Car,' cutting a clear slice from the organic and distinctive junkyard percussion and deep-fried blues stomps of Tom Waits.