Night Beds’ “Country Sleep” is an album of alienation in Colorado SpringsBy Matt Miller | February 6th, 2013 | No Comments »
Winston Yellen has never played a show in Colorado, never seen a band at the Hi-Dive, where he headlines with his band Night Beds on Feb. 13, fresh off of a performance on ‚ÄúLate Night with Jimmy Fallon.‚ÄĚ But he still considers himself a Colorado musician.
Having spent middle school through high school ‚ÄĒ some of the most formidable years of growing up ‚ÄĒ in Colorado Springs, the sound of the state is etched into the music on Night Beds‚Äô debut album, ‚ÄúCountry Sleep.‚ÄĚ Drawn from his time in the Springs fighting off monotony, the sound of Colorado for Yellen is that of loneliness.
‚ÄúI have a friend who has a bumper sticker on his amp that says, ‚ÄėKeep Colorado Springs Lame,‚Äô ‚ÄĚ said Yellen, 23, after playing NPR‚Äôs World Cafe in Philadelphia. ‚ÄúColorado Springs is lonely and a very private place. There‚Äôs a vibe there that I can‚Äôt really explain.‚ÄĚ
To fight off the boredom of an antisocial high school experience, Yellen‚Äôs mom gave him a ‚Äúcrappy keyboard‚ÄĚ that he used to start writing songs.
‚ÄúColorado is something that I get most of my inspiration from,‚ÄĚ Yellen said. ‚ÄúThere‚Äôs kind of a magic there that‚Äôs kind of intangible.‚ÄĚ
From there Yellen went to college at Belmont University in Nashville, the historic music town that recently acquired another upcoming Colorado band, Tennis.
After dropping out of Belmont and traveling the country ‚ÄĒ including some time back in Colorado, going to bars alone ‚ÄĒ Yellen returned to Nashville where he recorded his album that landed him a deal with Dead Oceans last year. The label includes other indie artists Akron/Family, Destroyer, A Place To Bury Strangers and even more former Coloradans: Gauntlet Hair.
‚ÄúCountry Sleep,‚ÄĚ released Tuesday, is a therapeutic and at times heartbreaking indie country record. Opening the album with Yellen singing in a pure, lone voice, ‚ÄúWhen the sorrow comes,‚ÄĚ his solitude in Colorado becomes an anthem of the Night Beds identity.
‚ÄúI wanted to make something that wasn‚Äôt trying to be anything other than a song,‚ÄĚ Yellen said. ‚ÄúFor me it‚Äôs an old-timey country record. I listened to a lot of Neil Young‚Äôs ‚ÄėHarvest.‚Äô I wanted to make something bareknuckle and raw and vulnerable.‚ÄĚ
In support of this release, Night Beds is playing ‚ÄúFallon‚ÄĚ on Friday and kicking off a month-and-a-half U.S. headlining tour on Monday.
On Feb. 13 at the Hi-Dive, Yellen ‚ÄĒ a Colorado music scene ‚Äúoutcast‚ÄĚ ‚ÄĒ makes his debut with Night Beds in the state that shaped much of his album. But he doesn‚Äôt know if anyone will show up.
He said family will be there ‚ÄĒ his parents from the Springs, a brother in high school, another up north at Colorado State University ‚ÄĒ but other than that, he‚Äôs not sure.
‚ÄúI guess we‚Äôll find out,‚ÄĚ he said of the show. ‚ÄúI have no idea. I‚Äôm sure it will be very small. It‚Äôs hard to gauge.‚ÄĚ
Reverb Managing Editor Matt Miller¬†has a Twitter account¬†that he uses fairly often, but not often enough to be annoying.