Night Beds Orlando Show Review
The Americana music space has been dominated recently with talented singer-songwriters. Night Beds, the creation of talented twenty-three year-old Winston Yellen is another fresh offering in that genre. Yellen, a Colorado native who now calls Nashville home, brought his distinctive country-twinged Indie Rock sound to Orlando’s cozy Will’s Pub this weekend.
The music on Country Sleep, the band’s first full-length album, is dominated by tender, vulnerable songs with heart-touching lyrics. The songs spotlight Yellen’s fantastic voice, which translated well for the live show. Yellen’s mature voice belies his youth, but on-stage we saw several raw, unpolished glimpses of his still developing visage as an entertainer.
The show started just as the album does with a cold a cappella vocal and the song “Faithful Heights.” It was a brave and stirring start to the show, and Yellen pulled it off well. Most of the selections this evening were from the debut album, including the bouncy crowd favorite “Ramona,” which had the crowd dancing. It was one of a select few upbeat songs this night which was dominated by more mellow acoustic selections spotlighting Yellen’s dynamic voice.
Listening to Country Sleep, I was drawn to comparing Night Beds to Justin Vernon’s critically acclaimed Bon Iver. Watching Yellen and mates on stage, I certainly saw the potential for them too to reach such heights. Today the band is solely about Yellen and his majestic voice, but there’s room for them to grow as they’ll hopefully incorporate the other band members as they evolve.
Yellen seems like he’s becoming more comfortable being “the man” in the spotlight. He joked around with the crowd several times during the set, including playfully offering, “You’re the best crowd ever, but this heat does make me hate you.” It was one of several fun interludes during the show.
“Vulnerable” was a prevalent theme to this show. Yellen’s voice perfectly accompanies the soul-searching lyrics. He’s a young man with a great propensity to convey his most heartfelt feelings and life experiences in his songs and lyrics. He’s humble, as well. Before kicking off “Borrowed Time,” Yellen noted “I like singing low like Randy Newman. I hate hearing my voice singing high.” He delivered a nice version of the song in his “low” voice, but absolutely undersold the pure quality of his higher falsetto voice.
The highlight of the show were the last two songs of the evening. The other three band members, including Yellen’s brother on drums exited the stage for a delicate acoustic version of “Cherry Blossoms” followed by the rousing full-band closer “Head For the Hills,” which ended with Yellen jumping into the crowd and personally thanking many of the ardent fans in attendance.
(See the setlist below)
Even If We Try
You Were Afraid
Was I for You?
Head for the Hills