One time Fredericton roots rock mainstays Sleepy Driver have begun revisiting a number of unfinished songs, and enjoying every minute of it.
“The band is actually flirting with bringing it all back together,” says Sleepy Driver frontman Peter Hicks in response to the release of the band’s first new music since 2020’s Northeastern Chorus, an enormous career spanning project that featured several of the band’s friends and collaborators going back over more than ten years of music making. Last week, Sleepy Driver broke their three year silence by sharing the instrumental track Gas Station Restaurant, followed shortly after by the song, Bow and Arrow.
But a lot has happened between Northeastern Chorus and this pair of new singles. Shortly after the band’s last album came out, Hicks, together with his Sleepy Driver bandmates John Heinstein and Mike Hatheway – that’s 50% of the band’s lineup – formed My Black Ram, a new project that diverted abruptly from Sleepy Driver’s roots/Americana path in favour of a more straight ahead rock and roll approach. Seeing as how their last album, in a lot of ways, summed up everything Sleepy Driver had accomplished since the release of their 2009 debut Steady Now, it all seemed like the ideal time for one project to end and for others take shape. Or to put in another way, it seemed as if Sleepy Driver finally reached their destination.
But a band is a lot more than its music. For those fortunate few, all the late night drives, frustrating recording sessions, and time away from family comes down to one thing: friendship.
“We’ve been working on finishing these tunes together and are quite excited by it,” said Hicks. “While lots of the bed tracks were already in place, we’ve laid new vocals, guitars, bass and keys to round out the sound or replace unfinished takes. In many cases, we only had drums and scratch tracks. In others, like the instrumental, we had practically everything.”
While there are no official plans for getting Sleepy Driver out of the basement and onto the stage anytime soon, they might have to consider it before too long. The band has recently received a few offers to reunite.
Hicks said, of the many archived ideas the band has been revisiting, there are ten ideas taking shape for a planned album. Although, he points out, “we’ve all yet to be in the same room.”
“A couple of the songs are over a decade old, and then there are tunes from around each of the albums, a cool cover, plus Bow and Arrow, which is a full-on new single, based on an old unusable demo.”
All this said, it’s starting to sound like the members of Sleepy Driver have a new destination in mind. Only time will tell. For now, enjoy their latest singles. More to come.