Night Beds live in London

3 December 2012

Night Beds, the solo project of Nashville based Winston Yellen, is the sort of skeletal free-form forlornness that would appeal to fans of Bon Iver before he picked up a vocoder and started hanging out with Kanye West. Maybe it’s the confessed jetlag but tonight sees him confiding in the audience that this is his first time outside of the US and that he’s genuinely touched by the opportunity to play in London. He possesses an unassuming and clean-cut southern state earnestness that runs through his demeanour and lyricism; bereft of even the faintest whiff of pretention.

His performance may be considered threadbare, after all it’s the classic set up of one man, his guitar and his sorrow with only the most subtle brushings of a drummer to keep the pace. However, the ace up Yellen’s sleeve is his beguiling and echoing falsetto, which is at once delicate yet full of emotional resonance.

Playing heavily from this year’s EP ‘Every Fire; Every Joy’ his set shuns the lush instrumentation of his recordings. In less skilled hands this could be suicide – but live his songs are given a striking immediacy and intimacy, proven by the fact he often chooses to simply sing whole verses a cappella.

New single ‘Even if We Try’ is the sort of wistful Fleet Foxes esque Americana that will comfortably soundtrack many a cold night from now until spring, by which point his debut album ‘Country Sleep’ will have dropped and will no doubt give Night Beds the stamp on 2013 that tonight so confidently hinted at.

By Nik Jeffries. Blogs at and tweets at njeffries

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