Night Beds – Country Sleep album review

There are those in cyberspace who are making references about Winston Yellen by way of Gram Parsons. If so, the comparison is of a generalized nature, because the two are completely different musicians. There’s nothing of Parson’s aesthetic at work in the music of Winston Yellen; yes, it’s obvious that there’s a country/Americana influence in the music of Yellen, but this does not mean that Yellen bears any resemblance to Parsons. Yellen is Yellen, and Parsons is Parsons.

To say that there might be a general debt owed by Yellen is possible, simply due to the fact that Parsons cleared the way for so many. The Flying Burrito Brothers was one of a kind, and kick started something that was diluted and served up for mass consumption by the Eagles, among others.

Moving on, Country Sleep finds us peering into the inner life of a musician who seems to be venting his artistic soul. This is very emotional, very delicate music, beautifully conceived and executed, and moving over such varied terrain that the label ‘country’ barely carries any degree of coherence as a descriptive term. For proof of this, check out ‘Wanted- You in August’. The music there has certain antecedents, but overall it is its own creation.

What is truly wonderful about this is that the turn of events leading up to ‘Wanted’ have truly humble origins, in that the first track is an unaccompanied bit of vocal work, and the arc of the melodic line and the inflections in the phrasing, while modern in presentation, have roots that go very far back in the history of this country. This album deserves to be spun out quite heavily, as each listen reveals varied details, and it’s so stylistically varied that there’s no possibility of boredom. Beautifully done.

By Paul Paradis

Paul is a musician, writer, and teacher living in Tacoma. When not engaged in the endless task of raising his six year old whirling dervish James Sparhawk, he spends his time creating music, pursuing a bachelor's, working out, and living. He is originally from the east coast: Worcester, Mass. born, and Providence, RI bred. Having traveled around some, the Pacific Northwest tends to feel more and more like home with each passing day, Very similar to New England in some ways, but different in a way that is refreshing. Rock on.

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