A little known factoid: Iron & Wine's Sam Beam received a bachelor's degree in art from Virginia Commonwealth University. This was long before Beam became a professor of film and cinematography, spending his spare time laying down hushed folk tunes into a four-track recorder. Devoting himself to music full time with the success of his 2002 debut, "The Creek Drank the Cradle," Beam since has left his bedroom-session beginnings to become one of the most talented songwriters of the past decade, filling his pastoral compositions with deft reflections on life, death, love, religion and the passing of time. After demonstrating strength in more complex, diverse arrangements with 2007 "The Shepherd's Dog," Iron & Wine has come through fully formed with its most eclectic collection of tunes on its most recent effort, "Kiss Each Other Clean." With Low Anthem opening, Iron & Wine performs at the National on Wednesday, April 27, at 7 p.m. $25-$30. 612-1900.