The Lady is, to say the least, elusive. She comes and goes as she pleases, and is only seen if she so desires. Those who are fortunate enough to catch a mere glimpse of the Lady Winchester often are not even aware of the remarkable event that has come to pass. An even rarer occurrence is for her to stop in a single location for any extended period of time, but this past year she chose Daegu, South Korea, as her hoedown base camp. Represented by a handful of deranged songsters, the Lady Winchester still was not a fan of being easy to find, and so the band cycled through many a name, changing their moniker after every show. Lady Winchester and the Rusty Buckets, and the Cardiac Infarctions, and the Top 10 Best Trees, and Buscemi’s Eyes, and the Circus of Dooooom! To ensure anonymity, the Lady refused to attend their gigs, leaving the band to fend for themselves, but her spirit invigorated tehir playing. Although fleeting, Lady Winchester’s stay in Daegu yielded a year of merry psychotic performance and a delightfully disturbed record titled Lady Winchester and the Name of the Album.
Self-described as a folk/punk/junkyard-blues/bastard-rock collective, Lady Winchester is an eclectic mix of genres unified by an overall sense of comradery and a nose for a good sandwich and a great beer. The band has quite a sense of character, starting with frontman Douglas F. Warrick, a vocalist with a healthy dose of Tom Waits growl and more than a few screws loose. Their colourful nature comes from some serious banjo (Dan Yachnin), guitars (James Folwell, Wyn Owen Jones), bass (Tom Pattison), drums (Brad Arthurs), and violin (Tammy Louise Rak), a range of instruments that give their songs an ability to explore textures and tones that cannot be captured by your standard four-piece. To further the diversity of the album, many of the band members took turns at writing songs, and the result is an album that feels like a true collaboration.
Lady Winchester is a band that came about in unique circumstances. They are made up of a group of transients temporarily stationed in South Korea, which gave the band an automatic limit to their amount of time together. On the one hand, this creates the unfortunate truth of not being able to continue the growth of their music, but on the other hand this made the band prioritize their own enjoyment and fun rather than focusing on the need to make a living with music, which as we all know is no easy task. Musicians having a purely fun-driven time is infectious. Soon enough the audience can’t help but adopt the band’s energy, and all of a sudden everyone is on their feet without a care in the world. This allowed the band to pick up steam rather quickly, and within a year they already had a stalwart crew of fans, a short but nutty album, and a documentary featuring the Lady. If there’s a message in the story of Lady Winchester, it’s that musicians need to do what makes them feel at the top of the world, because if they feel it, there will be others not too far away who feel it as well.
The members of Lady Winchester have now parted ways, much to the chagrin of music-lovers like myself, but not without leaving us some righteous tunes for our listening pleasure. The best part of it is their album is available online here, and you can name your own price (including $0.00)! All proceeds from the album will go towards reuniting the band for a few shows in the Western world. Check these guys out, and cross your fingers for a possible future North American sighting of the Lady Winchester.