Jim Ward is a cool guy. Look at those sunglasses! Plus, you know, he was a driving creative force in At the Drive-in and continues to do the same job in Sparta. Sleepercar is a pretty serious departure for the always-loud rock dude, being a pretty straight-ahead country band. A loving homage to the country-rock of the Flying Burrito Brothers (they even cover one of their songs live), Sleepercar had some trouble getting off the ground, as Ward apparently couldn't convince a label to take a chance on him doing something without yelling. Which is stupid, because the record totally kicks a huge amount of ass, spiritually aligning itself with Wilco's Being There or Lucero's first record. It's a really awesome record.
This interview happened before the second of two huge nights at Massey Hall as part of the Canadian City and Colour tour. The crowd being of a somewhat early vintage meant that some of Ward's sincere, genuine flavour went over a few heads, but the band still crushed out some fine tunes, a Dylan cover, and a Flying Burrito Brothers cover. Ward himself was a genuinely nice guy, and after the camera was off, we talked about how cool it is to be all, "Punk rules!", and then one day be like, "Whoa, lap steel sounds so sad and beautiful." It's true, big guy. It's true.