Before dismissing the crowd with one final song, Chris Martin encouraged everyone his Nashville audience to go home and download "Nightingale" by Howling Bells. Among the many things I like and admire about Chris Martin, we can add great taste in opening acts.
My wife and I knew nothing about Howling Bells when we entered Nashville's Sommet Center back in June of this year, but we left favorably impressed after their brief set opening for Coldplay and Snow Patrol. A few months later when Howling Bells' Radio Wars finally got a U.S. distribution deal, I remembered Martin's recommendation and I jumped all over it. He was right about Howling Bells and he was right about "Nightingale."
Lead singer Junaita Stein doesn't have one of those classic voices, but she has a special knack for imbuing her vocals with ethereal longing. "Nightingale" begins as ambient pop, filled with mystery and longing. Slowly, Stein's lovely melody swells into an anthemic wonder.
You probably don't know Howling Bells yet. If you weren't in Nashville, you weren't there to hear Chris Martin recommend it to you. If it's all right with him, I'd like to take the baton and point you in their direction. Few bands have introduced themselves to me in a live setting and remained memorable enough months later to get me to throw down on their album. Spend a buck. Take a chance. Howling Bells might be the answer to those periodic bouts of musical malaise or cynicism towards contrived, corporate musical creations.