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Sparta frontman was surprised by solo career

for Journal Register Newspapers

» See more SOUND CHECK

Jim Ward never planned to be a solo artist.

The Texas musician has always been a band guy -- with At The Drive-In, Sparta and Sleepercar -- and only started recording acoustic-flavored solo EPs in 2007 as a respite from the louder part of his rock 'n' roll life.

"What I wanted to do was just go and make records; that's what I've always done to get through difficult feelings," says Ward, 35, who also owns a pair of bars in El Paso. "It led me into this path of, like, five songs in my home studio after a Sparta tour. We'd just done Australia, four shows in three days and a TV show and I don't sleep for three days.

"It was the only time in my life I've ever done that. I was as crazy as I've ever been, just so miserable. I just wanted to play quiet."

Ward has released three EPs since then and this year grouped all of them, plus electric versions of six of the songs, on an album called "Quiet in the Valley, On the Shores the End Begins." But with Sparta planning to reactivate after a four-year hiatus, Ward says he's at "the end of the run" as a solo artist, though he expects to do more under his own name in the future.

"Next year I'll be going back to Sparta and Sleepercar," he says, "and maybe somewhere down the line I'll do (the solo projects) again. I'd love to build it into something that I can do later on in life. I definitely feel like this has been a really good thing for me.

"And," he adds with a laugh, "I definitely have a greater appreciation for the other guys in my bands now, too."

Jim Ward performs Tuesday, Sept. 27, at the Pike Room in the Crofoot, 1 S. Saginaw St., Pontiac. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 day of show. Call (248) 858-9333 or visit www.thecrofoot.com.

Web Site: www.thecrofoot.com

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