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[video] Night Beds // Ramona [Live at Ocean Way Studios]

You’ve heard Night Beds’ “Ramona” before, on Whiskeytown’s Pneumonia. Not literally, in case you were going to check the tracklisting, but in essence; it’s “Under Your Breath” mixed up with “Jacksonville Skyline”, isn’t it? And aren’t we all, to be honest, a little tired of the soul-laid-bare lead singer? It’s understood, at this point, that the pointed ache he’s feeling is the product of life itself, of living it, and being able to share it with an individual other than himself. It’s not peculiarly tragic or particularly special.

And yet, you haven’t heard Night Beds’ “Ramona.” There’s a specific scuff to Winston Yellen’s vocals, a singular mourn to it that can’t have its lineage traced to anyone else we’ve heard before. When he runs his voice roughshod over “come on, Ramona” it’s a plea unlike anything else in the expansive alt-country/Americana canon. It’s an entreaty unique to this moment, and one that’s more welcome in our libraries than we’d initially like to let on.

Then you look at your play counts, and realize it’s been repeated thirtysomething times in the past week, and any reservations about having heard it all before are fallen by the wayside. And then you order the goddamn album on vinyl, because – sure as shit – the rest of it is as good as this is.

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Night Beds // Ramona (Daytrotter Session) [mp3]