Richmond, Virginia natives Sleepwalkers just wrapped their first major tour, opening for the Lumineers in 15 cities across the western half of the U.S., including a stop at the majestic Red Rocks Amphitheatre. For a still-unsigned band, playing for a crowd nearing 10,000 on the legendary Colorado stage was “mind-boggling,” says lead vocalist Michael York. “It was imaginable to play there, but not at this point in our careers.”
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Only two years ago York and his older brother Austin hooked up with drummer Alex DeJong when the brothers started recording their first album Greenwood Shade at White Star Sound, just outside of Charlottesville. A year later, they picked up multi-instrumentalist Mike Bryant, a friend from the local scene. Fast forward another year, and Sleepwalkers are opening for one of the country’s biggest bands, and headlining club shows on their down time. “We’re really thankful and humbled to be playing these massive stages,” Michael says. “The crowds have been great.”
Greenwood Shade showcases the band’s mellow throwback sound. It’s raw synth-driven pop rock, with dirty guitars and playful lyrics. Drawing inspiration from all over—the Kinks, Jackson 5, even 90s hip-hop—it’s an album that makes you want to get in the car and drive to the beach, but maybe take the long way there.
With the tour complete, the guys will head back into the studio to finish their second album. Planning for a fall release, the album will feature songs written around the same time as those on their debut, so fans can expect a similar sound. “It’s going to be everything and more,” Michael says. “We’re not going to make any lateral moves. Expect big melodies, fun songs.”
After that? Michael York is riding high on the success of this tour. “World domination,” he jokes, “or something like that.”
— Stephanie Wargin