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The best kept secret in music




Sun Rating: 3 out of 5

WINSTON is a descendant of the Grapes of Wrath -- two of its members did time in the Grapes offshoot Ginger -- but it has traded in the jangly guitars for rock distortion, polished to a high sheen for commercial radio.

The band has also garnered a few, somewhat misleading, Sloan comparisons, though it doesn't share that group's bouncy approach. Seattle's The Posies or Fastball are probably a closer match. Lonely could have appeared on the former's Amazing Disgrace album without anyone batting an eye, as could the combination of melancholy lyrics, chugging guitars and soaring vocals on opening track Long Way from the Wrong Way.

Musically the band uses an interesting palette of guitar sounds, including some pleasant acoustic strumming on Love It Up and Fell, and makes a smart use of keyboards and Ryan Hauschild's piano. The songs could be a bit more memorable, and sprinkle the hooks a bit more frequently, but otherwise it's a good debut.
- Passengers Review September 2004

It’s pretty obvious that the boys in Winston are huge fans of U.K. pop rock—especially U2. While the Vancouver band isn’t literally transcribing their songs from the Book of Bono, the Irish band’s influence is writ large across Passengers, with its anthemic guitars and emotive lyrics all designed to evoke epic landscapes. In other words, they’re not hacks. Under the watchful eye of producer John Webster, Winston’s material is sophisticated enough to impress even the most jaded radio listener, especially since songs like “Long Way From the Wrong Way” and “Godspeed to Oregon” sound tailor-made for blaring out the car window.
What’s more, they’ve got sonic range and ambition—“Spirit Is High” shows a band quickly mastering the dynamics of rock theatre with a song that twists and turns before launching into a fist-pumping, arena-style finish. Snooty indie kids might sniff at Passengers as derivative radio rock, but this stuff works better than what some established bands have been churning out. (See Winston perform live at the Sidetrack Café on Tuesday, August 31.) SSS —Dave Johnston - Passengers Review - August 2004

June 24, 2006

World Dominator

For those of you that don't know, Chart Magazine is like the Rolling Stone of Canada. It's a bigger music authority than even yours truly. A little while back, Chart described Vancouver-based singer/songwriter Winston as "progressing well towards world domination." Couple such high praise with the fact that Winston (aka vocalist, pianist and guitarist Ryan Hauschild) also had a number one single with "Love It Up and Fell" from his highly acclaimed 2004 release Passengers, and one might start to wonder why Winston isn't dominating the world right now.

Well, world domination doesn't happen overnight any more. Fact is, there are so many bands out there clogging the airwaves that even an underground favorite like Winston has to show some patience. But it appears Mr. Hauschild, armed with his Coldplay-esque collection of hooky, hearty powerpop is prepared to give us all another chance to jump on his bandwagon of brillance.

In early 2007, Winston will release the highly anticipated, Jeff Dawson produced follow-up to 2003's best-selling Passengers. With any luck, the well-deserved world domination should follow shortly afterwards.

Catch a sneak preview of this great new material tomorrow night when Winston takes the stage at the Railway Club.

- R.C. Joseph, 24 Hours - R.C Joseph

February 21, 2006

Music: Not so alone after all
By: Justin Mah, Peak Editor

Winston played The Media Club on February 17, and will play the Railway Club on March 10.

I first saw local indie-rock talent Winston back in 2003 at the Media Club. They were in the midst of releasing their first album, Passengers , which unabashedly uses the sound of a TransLink SkyTrain to jumpstart the first track into musical motion. Upon its release, the album elicited a positive response from both listeners and music critics; The Province (December 28, 2003) even named them as one of its top-10 local acts — The Be Good Tanyas and Hot Hot Heat being others that made the list.

Headed by Ryan Hauschild (vocals, guitar, piano), the band caught my attention straightaway with its soaring, harmonic, and dynamic vocals/instrumentals which appealed to the inner catacombs of myself where pathos resides. While Winston evokes artists such as Coldplay, U2, and Sloan, the band doesn’t ever succumb to the musical tenets of any of these mainstream bands, nor does Ryan seek to incite without feeling the necessity to do so from within. Though Winston enters cliché-ridden territory by exploring the social-ills of love, malaise, and angst, the band manages to avoid these perils by exploring the medium of sound with a certain immediacy and engaging with it on an intuitive level, allowing them to continually and innovatively reinvent themselves with each song. To intangibly articulate the Winston experience: it’s as if we are led by a maternalistic hand across the interstices of a broken soul. Their songs draw you in, embrace you, and then spit you out like a bird feeding its young — jarringly but with love. “Lonely,” a song about someone coming home to their loved one and finding them with another, for instance, cradles the body with its soft piano chords and swooning ambience. The song is also notorious for seduce tears out of the most impervious individual. Two weeks ago (Feb.17th) I had the chance to see Winston again at the Media Club. This time they tantalized the audience with songs off of their newly recorded sophomore album to be released later this spring. Songs like “Denim,” with its melodic hooks and genuinely sung lyrics, left many of us transfixed and with our heads and feet uncontrollably swaying and tapping. Another song off of the new album, “Cold Feet,” opens softly and detachedly until the drums suddenly roar in and subsume you in the process. Before starting the number, Ryan engages the audience in conversation, mentioning that he’ll be getting married in the summer, and clarifies that the song, for him, is his coming to terms with this imminent transition. And, in giving himself fully and openly to his music under the limelight, he created an aura of openness for those in the audience as well.

Winston manages to create lush, atmospheric songs that seem all encompassing. Dwelling on universal themes, the band’s songs disarmingly hit home on a very personal level. We are enticed during a live show into reflecting upon our own moments of loneliness under a collective setting, and are ultimately eased when we find out that we are not so alone after all. There’s no doubt that seeing the band live is a rejuvenating experience, and as such, it’s just a matter of time before the band gets the recognition that they deserve; until then, you’ll find Winston playing around Vancouver with their hearts on their sleeves.

Check out for songs and tour dates.
- Justin Mah

June 2004
Passengers Review

WINSTON Passengers (Frontside)

Call me crazy, but any press release that contains both the terms "Nickelback" and "avant-garde song construction" is a little off the mark. However, while Vancouver's Winston may be far-reaching in their self-portraiture, it shouldn't dissuade fans of upbeat rock from checking out their debut. Mixing the alternately warbling and crunching guitars of Bends-era Radiohead with the populist sensibility of Five For Fighting, Winston craft solid if standard melodic pop-rock. Songwriter Ryan Hauschild's voice pushes his traditional arrangements gently forward. There are even fragile piano-tinged moments that hint at what The Flaming Lips might sound like when they release their adult contemporary record. - JM
CCC (3 out of 5)
- Review


Passengers CD - 2004 (Fontana North)
Limited EP - April 24, 2006 (Aquarius Records)


Feeling a bit camera shy


Canadian singer-songwriter Winston didn’t take any shortcuts with his debut solo album, Limited. Recording the six-song EP on vintage analogue gear, Winston self-produced the new album without using any digital devices -- no computers, no Pro-Tools, not even a digital guitar tuner. The resulting recording is introspective alt-pop that is at times gritty and other times haunting.

“I wanted to make something real, something human.” Winston says about his decision to skip industry standard recording methods like using computers to edit instruments, tune vocals and insert digital samples.

“Making an analog record is a lot of work, but it’s way more creative,” he says, explaining that all of the sounds and effects on the record are man-made, whether he’s singing in a reverb chamber, sabotaging a tack piano, or using a wind-up timer as a key feature of the title track.

“Besides, for an album this personal, I didn’t want it to sound perfect. Sometimes the feel is fucked-up and vulnerable, and I wanted to capture that vibe honestly, not just with my lyrics but with the music and recording as well.”

After forming a 4-piece band and releasing a critically acclaimed full-length album Passengers in 2004, West Coast music critics for the Province newspaper listed Winston as a top local act, alongside indie giants Hot Hot Heat and the New Pornographers. “Winston is a joy to see live,” wrote Music Critic Kerry Gold of the Vancouver Sun.

Winston has since gone solo with this album and also produces other indie artists from his secret bunker in downtown Vancouver. Furthering his west coast analogue cause, he recently moved from a Main Street apartment to a cabin on a small island off the coast of Vancouver.

Limited was recorded during the twilight days of 2006 at Mushroom Studios. The album is to be released by Aquarius Records in Spring 2007. A tour is in the works.