Sleepercar – West Texas

Jim Ward‘s new project Sleepercar‘s debut album is set to be released April 22nd, 2008. For those who only know him from his work with At The Drive-In and Sparta are in for a pleasant surprise with the new direction Ward had taken with Sleepercar.

A far cry from At The Drive-In and Sparta’s post hardcore sound, Sleepercar is filled with Americana and alt- country style. The first song written for West Texas emerged on the last At The Drive-In tour over seven years ago and Ward last year began to give us a taste of what he could do with alt-country on his solo Quiet EP. Ward and fellow bandmates Chris Heinrich, Gabe Gonzalez, Matthew Schmitz, and Greg Sosa create quite an eclectic sound on this album. It features additional musicians like Ross Godfrey of Morcheeba on the 6-string guitar and farfisa, Maura Davis of Denali/Ambulette doing back up vocals on seven tracks and additional vocals on “You Should Run,” and even Ward’s own father Jeff Ward contributes on bass.

The reflective theme of the album is made quite apparent with Ward’s painfully heartfelt lyrics even on the most upbeat of tracks. The album starts off with “A Broken Promise,” a powerful track in which Ward repeatedly sings “I can’t take this any longer / I will die or become stronger.” “Wasting My Time” is one of many heavily guitar driven tracks, like “Kings & Compromises,” “Sound The Alarm,” “You Should Run,” and “Stumble In.” “Wasting My Time” also features the line “I want to be through with you,” which seems to be a common theme on this album. Despite it being a declaration of love to his home state of Texas, it seems to lean towards closure from where the project started.

Some of the softer songs on the album are “Fences Down,” “Wednesday Nights,” “Heavy Weights,” “End Of The Year,” and “All Will End Well.” “Fences Down” and “Heavy Weights” are undeniably influenced by country, from the tempo to the beautiful use of the pedal steel guitar. “Wednesday Nights” features light guitar and piano for most of the song, accompanied by Ward sweetly belting out the lyrics, “For a while I held your hand in the setting sun” make it one of the biggest standout tracks on the album. “End Of The Year” is the most somber, “I for one will not forgive / Not this time / It’s too late / I’m tired and you’re well past gone.” Ward’s voice captures the emotion of this completely.

My favorite track is “All Will End Well,” even at just a little over a minute long, it expresses the most meaning. When Ward softly sings “I’ll give up the world to make you feel okay,” it’s enough to make the most hardened of hearts melt. The album ends with the upbeat and uplifting track “Stumble In” in which he earnestly sings, “I feel fine, I feel well,” leaving things on a positive note.

This album definitely shows Jim Ward’s growth not only as a person, but also as a musician. From showcasing his vocal talent to his range of style while being in the company of musicians of the same caliber. Sleepercar soon will be touring with City And Colour in May and June.

Tour dates:
May 19 Chop Suey Seattle, Washington
May 20 Hawthorne Theatre Portland, Oregon
May 21 Orpheum Vancouver, British Columbia
May 22 Royal Theatre Victoria, British Columbia
May 25 Jack Singer Hall Calgary, Alberta
May 26 University of Lethbridge Theatre Lethbridge, Alberta
May 27 Medicine Hat College Medicine Hat, Alberta
May 28 Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium Edmonton, Alberta
May 29 Lakeview Auditorium Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
May 31 Burton Cummings Theatre Winnipeg, Manitoba
Jun 3 St Denis Theatre Montreal, Quebec
Jun 4 Bronson Centre Ottawa, Ontario
Jun 5 Bronson Centre Ottawa, Ontario
Jun 6 Massey Hall Toronto, Ontario
Jun 7 Massey Hall Toronto, Ontario

Sleepercar’s West Texas preorder website
Sleepcar’s myspace

– Carina


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