Winchester Warm makes first trip to Metro

In a day where the ability to play musical instruments is quickly becoming a secondary skill, it is refreshing to know that bands like Ottawa’s Winchester Warm are there to balance things out. With a sound that recalls the music of roots-country band The Jayhawks, the group will be performing at Café Aberdeen, inside the Aberdeen Cultural Centre located at 140 Botsford St., on Friday, Jan. 14.

Interesting to note, Winchester Warm originally got its start as a side-project to another band its band members had played in. The group is now the primary focus for all involved with their other band having fallen by the wayside.

“Matt and I had actually played together in a previous band called Poorfolk,” Winchester Warm’s Jonathan Pearce says.

Although Poorfolk had initially started as Pearce’s outlet for music not unlike Winchester Warm, the band evolved into a four-piece rock group.

“We ended up having some songs that didn’t quite fit the rock n’ roll repertoire of Poorfolk so we started writing songs and jamming in Matt’s living room around two and-a-half years ago.”

Comprised of only Pearce and his bandmate Matt Godin, keeping things simple, both musically and functionally, is one of the group’s core values. Even though their instrumentation is limited to acoustic guitar and drums for the bulk of their live shows, the band can indeed rock just as hard as a group with twice as many members. By having only two band members, Winchester Warm ends up being more versatile than a group with more than two members, affording them the opportunity to play intimate venues such as living rooms and cafes while also allowing them the opportunity to play the club circuit in any given city across the country.

“We have some people that play live with us when we play around Ottawa but otherwise we started the band with just the two of us and decided to keep the group as such. I tend to use a lot of open tuning when I play, so a lot of what would be bass lines are already covered,” Pearce says.

Recorded over the span of six days (three days in August 2008 and another three days in August 2009), the group recorded the bed tracks for their newest record, Sky One Room, in a church in the Ottawa area. Finishing touches for the record ended up being completed in the more familiar surroundings of friends’ homes.

Given the natural acoustic beauty of churches, the idea to make a record in such a venue was planted while Pearce was still in high school and his band at the time would rehearse at a church.

“We were totally going to record in our living room and then the idea struck me to call my friend Sam and see if we could make the record in this church and fortunately the answer was yes. It was a great experience to have had.”

Winchester Warm’s upcoming show in Moncton is one of only four that they are playing in the region as like many other musicians, the duo balances playing in a band with other life responsibilities. Nonetheless, Pearce says that he and Godin and very much looking forward to their first trip to the Maritime region.

“I have been to Atlantic Canada for work but have never had the pleasure of playing shows so both Matt and I are looking forward to finally getting out there to play.”

Article published in January 7, 2011 edition of the Times & Transcript