Surely, I thought, when I sat down to type up this post, I must have already included Winchester Holiday in my 30 Days’ posts. But, nope, somehow I have made it to Day 5 before hitting this lovely emerging folk/country/Americana band. Imagine a group of 5 young men, all fairly attractive, playing their instruments and singing in decent 4-part harmonies. Ok, in the past a 4-part harmony was pretty normal, but from my 2 years of on-the-ground music blogging I can attest that most bands are doing great if they can remember not to botch a 2-part harmony with the occasional third voice. There are a few other bands I know that have mastered more complicated harmonies, on par with Winchester Holiday, and of course I have befriended many of the rest of them in my area and will mention them later in this series. But… Winchester Holiday.
This band is comprised of two pairs of brothers, who grew up on the same street in Fort Collins and met through an older brother and a fishing hobby. The drummer, Adam Federer, was the latest addition and adds an extra layer of interest to what was otherwise ‘just’ a 4-piece folk band with great original songs. Since being accepted by the musician incubator SpokesBUZZ, Winchester Holiday has played a lot of very visible gigs around the Fort Collins area, and everywhere they play they get a lot of new fans. I remember when they were playing an outdoor show at the stage in the pedestrian mall in Old Town Fort Collins, random people were stopping me half a block away from the show, asking me who the band was with that look of awe and instant adoration that only new fans have.
I have been a fan long enough to pass out of that initial stage of blind adoration, and I must agree with some critics that some of the lads sound hoarse and seem to be oversinging or abusing their voices in their live performances more often than not, but with so many of this band’s songs it is really the songs themselves I fall in love with. I hear them in my mind as they ought to be sung, whether the lads doing the singing go a bit too sharp or not. And, I’d rather hear a band that sings a bit off some nights than settle for a bunch of hyped up kids with autotune fixing their voices for them. In any case, I am too much of a fan to give too much credence to the critics, and I am sure as this band matures the lads will get plenty of vocal coaching. And in all fairness, a lot of the tenor-range lead parts in these songs are tough to sing with a tired voice without a few sharps and squeaks.
Winchester Holiday has only one release so far, an EP, which is far too short for my liking, but otherwise captures a bit of what I love to hear from them. Until I moved I tried to catch them live, because their studio EP can’t really bottle the energy that their live shows seem to conjure out of thin air and a bit of music. There is one recording that comes close though, and the lads of this band will probably be rolling their eyes when they read this because they know how obsessed I am with this song. I really really REALLY like the recording they did with the help of Ben Prytherich and Darren Raddach and other local musicians for the Whensday soundtrack. The track, “Joshua- Teklanika” is a combination of two songs that have since been recorded separately, “Joshua” on their EP and “Teklanika” on the SpokesBUZZ 2013 compilation CD. The Whensday track includes a nice underlying didgeridoo part played by Tyler T. (featured in an earlier post), and I think the way the songs were combined and arranged made this track a more coherent and compelling ballad than either song by itself. One of the lads in the band agrees with me at least to the extent of prefering this older recorded version over the newer renditions of these songs, but the new versions are still really great. (I am addicted enough to the Whensday track that it is on repeat now as I type this post. I couldn’t open the page to copy the url without playing the track at least once!)
Album: Winchester Holiday EP (http://winchesterholiday.bandcamp.com/) Website: (Facebook)https://www.facebook.com/thewinchesterholiday, (bandcamp)http://winchesterholiday.bandcamp.com/, Official website- http://winchesterholiday.com/Whensday soundtrack, “Joshua-Teklanika” – http://nocoastartists.bandcamp.com/track/joshua-teklanika
(All photos in this post, and in all my posts unless otherwise stated, are my own. All rights reserved, etc…)