The first song conceived for West Texas originated in a moment of solitude while Jim Ward was waiting to soundcheck on what turned out to be the last At The Drive In tour. Fast forward seven years, and Ward is set to release a full length album chock full of Americana rock inspired by all things West Texas and influenced by the likes of The Old 97’s, Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen. The songs explore different uses of rhythms, voices and moods, allowing Ward to be more diverse with the compositions.
West Texas has a lot of strength and expansive depth, creating a sprawling, beautiful sound. The sounds of the instruments add to the reflective theme Ward hoped to explore. The final recording took place in a second-story loft with dome ceilings in El Paso— with Matthew Schmitz playing drums and recording the drum tracks over the course of a year or so. Ward recorded all the guitars, keyboards and pianos at his own home studio with Chris Heinrich, Gabe Gonzalez, and Ward’s father Jeff, rounding out the recordings on guitar, piano, and bass respectively (Heinrich-pedal steel/guitar, Gonzalez-piano Jeff Ward-bass). Additional musicians include 6-string guitar and farfisa by Ross Godfrey of Morcheeba fame with Maura Davis of Denali and Ambulette featured on “You Should Run,” and backup vocals on seven additional tracks. The record was mixed at Sonic Ranch with Justin Leeah at the controls.
From the opening notes of “A Broken Promise,” to the echoed chords of “Wasting My Time,” Sleepercar’s West Texas reflects the environment of its birth. From the soft vocal wave to the pulse-racing conviction of songs like the dynamic “Wednesday Night we hear all sides of what Ward is capable of. Propelled by an array of sonic styles and tempos, colored by heartfelt, adoring lyrics, the songs on West Texas are a declaration of love. “West Texas is my home, my land and my soul” says Ward.
Sleepercar is celebrating the release of West Texas by embarking on a (as far as we know) a never before attempted, small town tour of Texas. They combed the state and set up shows in roadhouses, Art Galleries, Cafe's and punk rock bars in a whistle-stop tour that encompasses the spirit of beauty, eclectic culture and vastness of the state that fuels the songs on this debut. Twelve shows - two weeks – spanning the entire state.
After the SXSW Festival, Sleepercar will whirr through South Texas, move north through Ft. Worth and west into the panhandle and ending in the new buzz hub of Marfa, TX, where "There Will Be Blood" was filmed.
The recording line-up is as follows:
Chris Heinrich- pedal steel and guitars
Jeff Ward- bass
Matthew Schmitz- drums
Jim Ward-guitars and vocals
Gabe Gonzalez- piano
Maura Davis- vocals
Ross Godfrey- farfisa organ and guitar
Jarrett Wrenn- guitar
Barbara Arriaga- cello
The touring line-up is as follows:
Jim Ward - vocal/guitar
Chris Heinrich - steel/guitar
Gabe Gonzalez - keys/guitar
Matthew Schmitz - drums
Greg Sosa - bass