“Sleeping at Last” is one of those artists who has the power to soothe and relax with a voice.
The powerful albums and EPs are packed with great sounds and only the occasional “skippable” song.
“Though my hands are prone to trial and error, I’m crossing my fingers for something to hold,” Ryan O’Neal sang in his song “Outlines.” O’Neal did indeed find something to hold.
“Sleeping at Last” was created in Chicago in 1999. The band originally had three members: lead singer Ryan O’Neal, drummer Chad O’Neal and bassist Dan Purdue. Purdue and O’Neal later left the band in 2011 to pursue other careers.
Ryan O’Neal; however, never gave up on the band. He adjusted to being the only member, becoming the singer and instrumentalist.
The first album released was called “Capture” in 2000, but it does not exist on iTunes, the band’s website or any popular radio apps such as Spotify or Soundcloud.
At the beginning of their career, while the band still had Chad and Dan, they often opened for other bands, such as “Kill Hannah” and the “Plain White T’s.” They did not seal a record deal until 2002 when Interscope Records’ Billy Corgan signed them.
Their second album, “Ghosts,” was released in 2003 and is considered the band’s first major label debut.
“Say what you really want to say and the truest forms will show. Finally, you will find your soul,” O’Neal, in his song “Say”, sang.
The release of “Ghosts” introduced the sound and focus of the band. O’Neal writes about life and love, while playing calm, indie music in the background.
In 2006, “Sleeping at Last” released a third album titled “Keep No Score.” On this album, O’Neal expanded his songwriting abilities by using powerful imagery. The musical arrangements in the majority of the songs is definitely a highlight of this album.
“They say this place has changed, but strip away all of the technology and you will see that we are all hunters, hunting for something that will make us okay,” O’Neal sang in “Needle and Thread.”
“Storyboards” was released in 2009 with a beautiful water color painting of an owl as the album cover. The painting fit perfectly to the soft and elegant sound of the album.
“As the wrist of an artist pulls the foreground into frame, we must learn to focus all the same,” O’Neal wrote in the song “Timelapse.”
Never failing to impress, O’Neal proceeded to create the Yearbook series in 2011. The series consisted of two or three songs released every month for an entire year. At the end, all of the EPs were compiled into one massive collection filled with beautiful melodies and poetic lyrics.
“Concentration breaks under frivolous weight. If the right words exist, may they find our lips,” O’Neal sang in “Resolve.”
The final albums released were the Atlas series consisting of “Space,” “Land,” “Darkness” and “Light”. The songs on each of the albums hit every aspect of all things happy, intense and curious. Songs on “Space” left listeners with a universe-like feeling and clever lyrics.
“I dig until my shovel tells a secret,” O’Neal wrote in “Earth” from the “Space” album. “I swear to the Earth that I will keep it. Brush off the dirt, and let the change of heart occur,”
Ryan O’Neal is an artist who has been through a lot, but never gave up on his dream of making music and allowing listeners to feel something more than heavy bass behind useless lyrics.
To take his career even farther, O’Neal has plans of releasing the “Atlas: Year Two” series sometimes this spring.