- 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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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".
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.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Buy this album for Ramona and 22 and then enjoy some of the more plaintive stuff as a bonus.Published on 23 Feb. 2015 by John Hardcastle
Night Beds is the project of Colorado born, young Winston Yellen who brings us his own brand of Indi/Folk. Read morePublished on 15 Jun. 2014 by Eamonn MacNeill
Came across this via NPR on YouTube. Really charismatic performer who would be great to watch live. My only gripe is the track "Ramona" does not use such a loud drum track... Read morePublished on 31 Oct. 2013 by Roger J. Pettitt
I listen to loads of music, and all kinds of music... this is one of my favourite records of the year.
Sounds so deep and sweet on heavy vinyl too... Read more
I'm not qualified to review music other than to say I like this one rather a lot, if not morePublished on 4 July 2013 by Paul
I absolutely love this. It's country music for the non country music lover. Never mind best debut, best cd I've heard in a long time.Published on 30 May 2013 by E. Robinson
For a first album, this is delightful though I am annoyed that he cancelled the Bristol gig to play Jools Holland. he has an interesting voice.Published on 7 May 2013 by PJS