The first full-length studio album from Nashville-by-way-of-Colorado indie folk/Americana outfit Night Beds, the Bon Iver, Sun Kil Moon, and Fleet Foxes-inspired vehicle for singer/songwriter Winston Yellen, begins appropriately with an a cappella piece ("Faithful Heights"), which arms a despondent lover with the understanding that "Whenever you get lost, man, hold my hand." It's a trick that Yellen utilizes throughout Country Sleep, reinforcing the comparisons to the aforementioned "Bon Kil Foxes" by relying on the familiar tropes of the emotional dust bowl that is 21st century country-folk -- much of the record was written during a period of upheaval that found the early twenty-something artist jobless, partner-less, and living out of his car. It's a familiar sort of desperation, yet it's delivered with the effortless gait of a young man who's more than willing to carry the weight of the world, as long as he gets to sing about it. Thankfully, Yellen employs a set of pipes that are as deft as a swallow's, allowing the arrangements the space they need to set the tone, and then swooping in to seal the deal. A fortuitous, post-homeless loan allowed Yellen to rent a pre-civil war home outside of the city that once belonged to Johnny and June Carter Cash, where much of the album was recorded, and on stand-out cuts like the shimmery and propulsive "Ramona," the sparse and soulful "Cherry Blossoms," and the gentle, yet unflinching, autobiographical "22," he dutifully channels the high and lonesome ghosts that haunt the hills around him.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Wow! What an amazing voice. And I like the review Bon Kil Foxes. Spot on! This record makes me excited about music again....there is hope after all.