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Country Sleep

4.6 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (4 Feb. 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Dead Oceans
  • ASIN: B00AANGIJY
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 122,996 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product description

Product Description

With their ten-track debut album Country Sleep, Night Beds set out to prove there is plenty of life left in the world of American music. Drawing comparisons with Gram Parsons and My Morning Jacket, the album features the sinlges "Ramona" and "Even If We Try".

BBC Review

Winston Yellen is the brainchild behind Night Beds, a 23-year-old singer-songwriter blessed with a striking voice and inclination toward woozy, languorous songcraft. His presence marks Country Sleep as, if not one of the most electrifying debut albums you’ll hear this year, then certainly among the most promising.

It opens with Yellen’s voice front and centre on the a cappella Faithful Heights, a stirring assertion of love and companionship. It’s followed by the urgent rush of Ramona, a sprightly, sepia-drenched jaunt that cedes into a blissful, billowing coda.

Much of the record was born out of destructive circumstances, written by Yellen in an attempt to sedate himself from what was happening around him. He lost a job and a girlfriend, before spending a period living out of his car, eking out a living while on the road.

A Colorado native, he eventually found himself back in his adopted home of Nashville. In a stroke of (loan-assisted) good fortune, he was able to rent a pre-civil war home in the woods that counts among its former owners none other than Johnny Cash and June Carter.

There are analogies here, if you care to draw them, with how Justin Vernon came to put together Bon Iver’s heartrending For Emma, Forever Ago. What’s more, both singers are in possession of uncommonly gorgeous voices, not to mention a gift for space and for atmosphere – for knowing when to let a song breathe.

As on For Emma…, and its palette-expanding follow-up LP, many of Yellen’s compositions wind up in some dreamy, interstitial quarter that nevertheless feels utterly intuitive. Yet Country Sleep doesn’t land quite as fully-formed as Bon Iver’s debut managed.

Nor does this set display the consistency that stylistic peers such as Fleet Foxes or Bowerbirds routinely exhibit. Yellen’s lyrics occasionally slip into cliché, and for all their tasteful production and delicate charms, these songs can come off a little undistinguished at times.

Which, to come full-circle, brings us back to one thing Country Sleep holds in abundance: promise. It is dreamy and languid, warm and inviting in turn; a soulful work by a talented young singer-songwriter that hints at a bright and beautiful future.

--James Skinner

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Customer Reviews

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Format: Audio CD
When you consider the fervent scramble at the bleeding edge of music making, it's remarkable just how often the head can still be turned by simple song-craft done well. Little more than a tender vocal and some ambling chords and often one can be hooked. Enter Colorado native and Nashville resident Winston Yellen, who goes by the stage-name Night Beds.

Sometimes minimal to the point of a cappella, sometimes indulging his tales of torment with a flash of reverb, his promising debut LP Country Sleep really sounds as authentic as it should coming from a man recently job- and girlfriendless and, fresh from moving out of his car, living under the roof of a house in the woods previously owned by a certain Johnny Cash and June Carter.

Country checklist complete, Yellen needs and has a weapon to fight his way out of MOR singer-songwriting territory. Too young for the ravages of smoke and rye to have taken their toll, he possesses instead a striking kinda-falsetto that opens the album entirely unaccompanied, developing into a creaky howl by the closing bars of "Faithful Heights". This is not to say that that from time to time he doesn't let the music do the talking - not at all - it's just that he possesses that intrinsic skill to know when to let pregnant silence rule.

As such, there's a rampant fragility to the majority of his work. "Lost Springs" and "Was I For You?" are full of the sort of alt, rain-down-the-window pining popular with Twilight soundtracks. The closer, "Tenn", is dangerously sad stuff in which to bury your face in the nearest pillow - Yellen's explosion of emotion with 90 seconds to go burning with anger, hate, optimism and love.
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The inevitable comparison with Fleet foxes and Justin Vernon's Bon Iver will arise, when you first listen to this debut album by Night beds. From the opening a capella 'Faithful Heights' number with its sweeping, somewhat beseeching voice of Winston Yellen, and the segue into Ramona, a fast orchestrated number, featuring slide guitar and ending with violins, then back to THAT voice again on 'Even if we try' Winston Yellen's voice draws you into his (?) sadness yearning and lonliness.

The album is a fine balance of musicality and voice, and Night Beds (really Winston Yellen, who is the voice and song writer) has a voice that is nuanced and highly expressive, soft and emotive,which his song writing compliments. 'Cherry Blossoms' shows the full range of this remarkable voice and the last track TENN show cases his poetic writing too.

Yellen hails from Nashville, and with sliding guitar and lost love featuring strongly, the sound is country but with a baroque edge, with its strings as well as guitars.
The back story to the making of this album features Yellen heading off to the woods to stay in a wooden cabin once owned by Johnny Cash, a familiar route, it would seem for budding young musicians (see Bon Iver and also James Vincent McMorrow).

This is a fine album and it would be surprising if Night Beds were not playing in larger venues when they come to the UK at the end of this year, then is planned at present (see tour dates on their website page www.nightbeds.org)

Also check them out on youtube where they feature on The Lawrence school.
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Night Beds are essentially Colorado singer Winston Yellon a 23 year old musician blessed with embarrassingly high levels of talent. Those of you who saw the wonderful Sharon Van Etten in London at her Shepherds Bush gig a while back may have stumbled upon him as a support act. His debut album "Country Sleep" was allegedly recorded in a 10 month period during which he rented a house outside Nashville, formerly owned by Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash. If the ghost of the Man in black was present then he would have approved since one thing is for sure that this lovely, warm and wistful album with echoes of Jeff Buckley, Bon Iver, Robin Pecknold and Jim James will propel Mr Yellon to headline slots in the blink of an eye. While there there is nothing outstandingly original here what Yellon does is to take the gorgeous strains of his sumptuous voice and infuse a set of ten songs with plaintive melancholy and aching beauty. It is often an intoxicating mix which does echo that sad compelling vibe and poignant atmosphere that Bon Iver struck on his sublime debut "For Emma, Forever Ago". Yellon however is no mere log cabin marooned copyist. "Country Sleeps" is packed with songs which shows heightened maturity and a ear for a good tune.

Thus you have the lovely pop of "Ramona" which skips along at a nice pace and has you singing at the top of your voice in a matter of seconds. Even better is the haunting a capella ring of "Even if we try" a song so destined to be a classic that Paddy Power should stop taking bets. It tugs at your heart and reminds you to buy that Valentine card for the one you love. The song "22" is a rustic, rolling, song with echoes of the Fleet Foxes but with the sweeter infusion of Yellon's soft vocals.
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