Winters Warm
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Winters Warm

Cleveland, Ohio, United States | SELF

Cleveland, Ohio, United States | SELF
Band Rock Folk


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"CD Review"

Winters Warm, although employing a completely false name in regard to their hometown, bring you completely truthful songs as a soundtrack to their lives. A three-piece hailing from Cleveland, Winters Warm is making a name for themselves, as heard on their debut EP, Crooked Road. This indie pop EP will be released on Thu 2/3 at the Happy Dog – attendees receive it for free.

Songs of uncertainty, betrayal and love fill the four song EP with more heavy than light. Musically, it is a mellow listen with smooth transitions and distinct guitar riffs. Each song holds a different sound, ranging from a White Stripes comparison with abrupt stair-like transitions in “First Song” to the drum-reliant “Crooked Road.”

The vocals are relaxed and at times nearly monotonous. For a significant portion of the music, these are the vocals that fit the songs and bring everything together, but there are still times when vocal variation could bring more life to the songs. Lyrically the words flow well, conveying melancholy and frustration. “Control, unviable. My passion – my desire – commands unconsciously.”

Winters Warm began as the collaboration of cousins Joe Yezbak and Corey Keller, now with support from bass player Erik Kemme. Having been together for only a little over a year, the band already has tight songs and a consistent sound. The EP flows easily song to song without identity lapses or musical surprises. Although still in need of the distinguishing characteristics to really set it apart, Crooked Road is a well-done debut and worth the 16 minute time investment.


"Cold Comfort"

At first, Winters Warm singer and guitarist Joe Yezbak was a drummer. "When everybody at school went to recess, I went to drum lessons," he recalls. But once his uncle showed him a few chords on a guitar, he was hooked. "I never put it down," he says. "The first stuff I started listening to and trying to play was John Lee Hooker."

Yezbak moved to Los Angeles and tried to make it in a few different bands. When that didn't pan out, he came back to Cleveland and started playing in a duo with his cousin, Corey Keller.

That was two years ago. Yezbak (pictured, top) played drums and Keller sang, but they've since switched roles. While holding down a residency at the Tree Huggers Café in Berea, the duo gained a following that led to bigger shows at indie-rock clubs in town and even a few gigs in New York. The group's debut record, Crooked Road (recorded at Ante Up Audio), has just been released.

The four songs include a low-key, Wilco-type ballad ("Glass House") and the shimmering title track, which ends with a rigorous jam. Winters Warm recently added bassist Erik Kemme and plan to focus on more electric material. You can hear them play with Shivering Timbers and Triggers at the Happy Dog at 9 p.m. on Thursday. Tickets are $5. Find more info on the band at

- Scene Magazine

"The Rack"

"Winters Warm can do as a duo what some four-piece bands have trouble doing: filling a room with well-written, fun-to-listen to music. Their style of indie/blues rock is certainly impressive on recordings, but their live performance is where they shine, showing off what these two guys are capable of." - 106.9

"The Sting"

"The Crooked Road EP from Winters Warm is so easy to listen to from start to finish. I don't know if I can pick a favorite! We would be playing these guys even if they weren't from here" - 88.3 WBWC

"Inner Sanctum"

"Glasshouse is one good song" - 92.3


Glasshouse Single 2010 (self released)
Crooked Road EP 2011 (self released)



Winters Warm was founded in a country guest house in the out-skirts of Cleveland that now consists of two cousins, Joe Yezbak, Corey Keller, and recently added bass player Erik Kemme.

In 2008 Joe moved back to Cleveland from Los Angeles after the death of his girlfriend. The immediate observation was the void of winter, the stillness, and the lifelessness of what covers the midwest for 6 months of the year. It appeared that death was winters shadow, and it seemed remarkably relative.

After much pleading from Corey to see his acoustic band at his resident cafe, Joe offered to play drums for them. Immediately they were playing several shows a week, and to fill larger time slots, Joe started playing his music and Corey moved back to drums In January 2010 Winters Warm preformed as a duo for the first time to a packed cafe, and had continued to play as a duo until the recent addition of a bass player in December 2010.

But it was an epiphany that became the basis of the band. It was that the world keeps moving, and expanding; everyone’s lives don’t stop because another does. "All my desires and passions are still here and more apparent than ever before. The world keeps moving - nothing stops. And I'm still alive".

Winters Warm has established itself as a recognizable name in Cleveland, and is often sought out to support internationally touring bands at their favorite venues. The beginning goals of the band, that they're carried through all the local bands they've played in, have been achieved; and a new set of goals are underway. Now playing outside of OH, they hope to reach the people who are looking for what Winters Warm is, and be what they are to them as they've been to fans in Cleveland.