Jenny O., Des Ark
506 W. Franklin St
Chapel Hill, NC, 27516
Doors 8:30 PM / Show 9:00 PM
This event is all ages
Watch & Listen
It's difficult to say where Night Beds begins, but it could be here: August 2006, a young Winston Yellen is invited to a longtime friend's apartment. They talk, they record a little aimlessly, and something exciting emerges. Maybe it's a little later, when one is studying engineering in Nashville, and the other remains behind, an unhappy captive of secondary education. It could be any number of moments, really, along a series of migrations, but probably here: the summer of 2008, back in Colorado Springs, when they write the first Night Beds song, "You Were Afraid."
God knows that we try to do the best we can
After that there is a lot of time spent in basements, a lot of alcohol, a lot of irreverent tuning, but not all that much need for talk. Most things are shared, understood: in thin mountain air, or in a waterlogged summer atmosphere, there can be a sense that breathing is effortful, that sleep is easy but not restful. The songs that come out of those first few years, collected on three EPs (Night Beds, Every fire; Every joy, and Hide From It), are an exercise in catharsis. They're deeply ringing things, washed in whiskey. The sound is like something emergent from a tunnel. It may be the red eye of a cigarette in the dark, or it may be the dawn peeking out.
Somewhere we might find softer light
"It was never thought. It just was always what felt good." So the songs come together over acoustic guitars, over the first skeletal melodies, and then they grow. Yellen's voice takes on a pure kind of thirst when wrapped in the sonic landscapes he devises. It's searching. It's taken several years to map everything out, but after a hiatus spent driving the deserts and prairies and coastal roads of the United States, sleeping in a hatchback or on friendly couches - after a long time spent alone - Night Beds has found a home in Nashville. Soon it will see the release of Country Sleep, a full-length album in the spirit of the vagabond, in the winding path to a place of good rest.
“These aren’t necessarily the songs I wanted to write, but they were the ones I had to write,” Jenny O. says of the material that became Peace & Information, her sophomore record and the second she’s collaborated on with producer Jonathan Wilson (Father John Misty, Conor Oberst, Dawes).
“I had a difficult year or two, so I wrote my way out of it.” This difficult chapter included challenging romantic relationships, a move from L.A. to Nashville, depression, trauma, a resulting case of PTSD, and a lot of inward work, not necessarily in that order. These experiences resulted in a group of songs that take the listener on a journey that culminates in insights about increased intuition, the pursuit of self-actualization, and taking back one’s personal power.
Jenny began making simple recordings on her father's reel-to-reel tape machine as a teenager and kick started her career with the self-produced and heartily licensed Home EP. In 2015, Jenny O. was awarded The Holly Prize by the Songwriters Hall of Fame, as "an exceptionally talented and inspired young musician whose work exhibits the qualities of Holly's music: true, great, and original."
After O.’s first full length Automechanic was released in Feburary of 2013 she found herself on the road for two years in support of acts like Father John Misty, Leon Russell, and Rodriguez. She confesses, “I’m into music but I’m not an extrovert. I’m really sensitive and each tour presents new dynamics to surf through. When you’re in a bad place spiritually but obligated to perform, the shows feel like fraud. I wanted it to stop until I could get my shit together.” The end of the album cycle prompted a move to Nashville for a while. “I felt like riding a bicycle in a little mellow town —being transient, elsewhere,” she explained.
Jenny moved into an 18th-century log cabin that had belonged to Jimmy Buffet in the
‘70s. She spent her time there reading, writing and sleeping in her vaulted bedroom, trying to heal while battling depression.
“It was the most beautiful, the cheapest, and the most necessary place I’ve ever lived,” she says. It was here that she wrote the songs that became Peace & Information. After spending eight months there, the cabin was bulldozed to make way for condominiums. She returned to Los Angeles to record the album with Wilson.
"We recorded to tape, like last time. The whole record was tracked and mixed in 17 days," Jenny says. "We both draw from all kinds of music so the album is pretty varied. I declare it rock & roll, but this time we used more synthesizers and grunge guitar, and there's a depression bossa nova on there too."
Peace & Information comes out on August 4, 2017 on Holy Trinity Records.
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