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Blogging the Bluesfest 2012: Winchester Warm

By Jared Davidson on July 4, 2012

Listen to Pardon by Winchester Warm.

Sometimes compared to Okkervil River, the ever-folky Winchester Warm colour their richly textured music with elements of rock and blues. A duo that sounds more like a quartet, Johnathan Pearce and Matthew Godin meld catchy, soulful melodies with punchy drums and acoustic guitars. Their debut album Sky One Room was recorded by Jarrett Bartlett (The Acorn, Andrew Vincent) in McLeod-Stewarton United Church in Centretown. The location gives the record an ethereal sound, something that the grounds of the War Museum have been known to encourage. We asked Winchester Warm to answer some questions. Here are the results.

How would you describe your sound?

I guess I would describe our sound as indie-folk. The songs all originate from me (Jonathan Pearce) plunking away at my acoustic guitar after a grueling day at the office.

I use a lot of open tunings that I guess I picked up from my Zeppelin years in high school and that usually forms the basis for a lot of the songs.

Then I bring the parts to Matthew Godin (drummer, percussionist) and we usually try to sculpt some sort of song out of it. Or we throw the part in the satchel (the holding place for orphan songs) and hope one day it may become the kernel of a new song. 

How did the group start?

Matt and I play in another band together—a loud, boisterous rock band called Poorfolk (temporarily on hiatus).

But somewhere along the way had started missing my acoustic guitar and began writing some songs that were much more folk than rock. So Matt and I began playing shows and eventually released our debut album, Sky One Room, in the fall of 2010.

What can we expect from your Bluesfest performance?

Although Matthew and I form the core of the band, we really enjoy having new players join us as every new member adds a little something else to the songs.

Our friend Jeff Gleeson (from the excellent Ottawa band The Ethics) will be joining us to play electric guitar and lap steel for the performance. He really does have some mad licks.

We are both huge Sarah Hallman fans and luckily for us she will be singing and playing the bass with us for the performance.

And finally our friend Amy Gordon will be playing the cello with us for a few songs as well.

As for what else to expect, we’ll be unveiling some new songs as we prepare to enter into the studio to record our sophomore album in the next few months.

Also noteworthy is that we are opening for this guy named Charles Bradley I saw play at Sappyfest last year. This guy is not to be missed; he’s this amazing soul guy who finally released his first record at 62 years old. I dare you to not be moved by him.

How do you take your coffee?

I like some cream (or sometimes baileys) and some sugar, but am trying to phase the sugar part out.

I think Matt is the same but probably takes less sugar than me…

Winchester Warm plays the Black Sheep Stage Friday, July 6th at 6pm.