Night Beds, the songwriting (and full band) moniker of Nashville’s Winston Yellen, has had a lot of words spent on them this year, and all of them have been accurate. Yellen’s voice is haunting and absolutely arresting whether he’s deploying it at the height of its power or whispering, and the music that backs it is lush and atmospheric. The “new Nashville” has given us genres that shouldn’t be genres, and the best description of Night Beds is “dreamscape country”, the sort of music that I wish my dreams were soundtracked by. I’d heard tell that his performances could be uneven, but this one was finely controlled and lovely.
I got to open the evening with two kick ass women, Night Beds’ tour companion Jenny O., and fantastic local Des Ark. Jenny O. is supporting a new record, Automechanic, and plays these clever, compact indie pop songs that sound as good acoustic as they did electric. (She can really, really play the guitar, folks.) She reminded me a bit of friend of Speakers In Code Erin Rae, and her stage presence and delivery falls somewhere between Emmylou Harris and Patti Smith, which is basically all I ever want from anyone. So I dug on Jenny’s set hard, and I’m thoroughly enjoying her record, which came out back in February and is available on her Bandcamp.
Her shows with Night Beds continue through June, with dates here, and Night Beds will be back in Raleigh for Hopscotch in September.
Des Ark — sometimes a band, last night simply frontwoman Aimee Argote — is one of my favorite local songwriters, because she conforms to no standards, and her songwriting is always unique, complex looped electric guitar patterns and frank, fierce lyrics. She’s simply a captivating, stellar performer.
Full set is here.