By Night Beds
Every once in a while a vocal comes along which has the ability to make you stop what you're doing and just bloody listen. Winston Yellen, the 23 year old from Colorado driving the alt-country vehicle that is Night Beds, just so happens to possess such a gift. Couple this gift with the heart-wrenching story in which he - minus girlfriend, job and living on the road - eventually finds himself surrounded by the walls of a cabin in Nashville (once owned by Johnny Cash, no less) with only his thoughts and guitar for company, and what you're left with is 'Country Sleep'.
It comes as no surprise then that the record comes with a dose of melancholia and dejection. In 'Cherry Blossom' Yellen paints a solemn and lonely picture of the situation that he's found himself in, yearning for 'a place to call home', whilst 'Lost Springs', depicts a man battling with regret over love gone awry, attempting to come to terms with the idea of being alone. All this set against rustic guitar and a string arrangement that seeps sorrow, it's hard not to get a little bit choked up.
But for every broken-hearted 22 year-old who's reached a crossroads there's hope; and even in the darkest of moments, it has been allowed to meander its way into the record in healthy doses. 'Whenever you get lost, man, hold my hand' croons Yellen's acapella vocal in opening track 'False Heights' - oozing sorrow, yet offering reassurance. This sorrowful, yet strong vocal slides in and out of falsetto in 'Even If We Try' - an overall melancholy offering which nevertheless by the end turns into something much more jovial, warm strings and happy-go-lucky 'oohs' aplenty.
Testament to Yellen's ability to pen both an upbeat and pulsating Americana-induced track is 'Ramona' - the records only foray into folk-pop which implores a young girl to get hold of her life and seek something better - 'fuck what they told ya, take back the life that they stole' he pleas. Not necessarily a tale of happiness, but one which reeks of positivity.
And thus 'Country Sleep' is steeped in youthful reflection and confusion; the story of a young man who's hit a brick wall which will resonate with many a 22 year old. Through this unabashedly wearing of his heart on his sleeve, Winston Yellen has created a record which is both an emotional rollercoaster and a delight on the ears, revealing a promising young singer-songwriter to keep an ear to the ground for in the future.