Night Beds is a dreamy band with roots in Colorado Springs, as well as Nashville. Wednesday night at the Hi-Dive in Denver, Night Beds tucked in fans in with a set that braided the sweetness of a lullaby with a rocking guitar-drums groove and the melancholy twang of country lap-steel.
Night Beds revolves around the voice of Winston Yellen. He opened with a captivating solo acapella song that whipped the audience into attention and led into the band’s tune, “Ramona”—a Grammy-nomination worthy song. It’s a voice that might draw comparisons to Ryan Adams, Rufus Wainwright, Roy Orbison, Chris Isaak, or a Viennese choir boy who has come of age with tenor tendencies intact. While Yellen is the driving force of Night Beds, “Ramona,” along with a handful of other songs, struts strong guitar corps and rich harmonies that showcase the rest of the musicians.
But it’s Yellen’s angelic voice that steals the show. At one point in the set, Yellen requested a drink. When an audience member held a beer out to him he said, “I already have too much estrogen in my vocals,” and asked, instead, for a shot of tequila.
Night Beds worked on the debut album, “Country Sleep,” in the woods near Nashville, where Yellen rented a pre-civil war house previously owned by Johnny Cash and June Carter. It was evident Wednesday night as the band played through the majority of the album that the ghosts of musical greatness visited Yellen. Since the release of this debut last week, the band has received much buzz online and performed on “Jimmy Fallon” on Friday. This has surely broadened Night Beds’ fanbase, judging by the decently sized crowd at the Hi-Dive.
The show opened with Glowing House, a new-folk trio from Denver. With unusual cadences, well blended harmonies and interesting drum and percussion work, this local band is onto something. Sandwiched between was Modern Inventors, a duo out of Philadelphia. Ample vocals and an amalgamation of acoustic and electric guitars made for an enticing sound leading up to the nightcap from Night Beds.
Colleen Smith, a longtime contributor to The Denver Post, is the author of “Glass Halo”—a novel set in Denver–and “Laid-Back Skier,” both by Friday Jones Publishing.
Ty Hyten is a Denver photographer and a new contributor to Reverb.