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Sleepercar rolls into town

Members explore new country rock sound on debut album, West Texas

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“Most people have a pretty varied record collection, and I’m just the same. I mean, everything from jazz to metal,” he said.

“…I’ve made a conscious decision in the past four or five years to not be necessarily — not that I ever really was career-driven — but to avoid sort of stagnation, I guess.”

Part of the decision was also just to keep things interesting.

“I never put limitations on the next record, you know? I’ve always said that… you shouldn’t be forced in one thing or do one thing forever. I mean, I could go get a real job if I wanted that, right?”

While he was still playing with the other bands, Ward was introduced to some new alternative country stuff, as well as some country rock from the ”60s and ’70s. For a while there, Ward even considered going the country route.

“It’s just what happens when your band gets big and you get tired of doing interviews, you start going, ‘well, I’m going to be in a country band, like, fuck this — you want to commit career suicide,’” he said.

What started out as a joke eventually evolved into this country-inspired sound, which is radically different than the music he had been making beforehand. But the reactions from fans that have followed Ward from his days with At The Drive-In and Sparta have been overwhelmingly positive, though Ward said he has encountered a few who admitted they were skeptical, at first.

After Sleepercar shows, he’s been approached by a few guys he’s seen at old shows who said they weren’t expecting to like the new sound.

“It’s good for them to challenge what they expect — that’s the part that gets me excited,” Ward added.

Ward writes all of the lyrics for Sleepercar’s music, drawing inspiration from a wide range of everyday experiences and observations.

“I always tend to be a little bit on the negative end of the dial,” he said. “I’m still that kind of artist, and probably always will be.”

But his music also has an optimistic message — hopeful for the future.