Saturday, February 25, 2012


SleepyV - MySpace Image

Ben Greenwood, a one-time Frank Cunimondo student, gave us a yell last fall to be on the lookout for SleepyV's EP "The Storybook." At the time, he thought it would be an October release; as often happens, it dragged out a bit. But for fans of acoustic prog music, it's finally done and hits the streets Tuesday.

SleepyV is a South Oakland band formed in 2009. They started performing in early 2010, winning a Pitt Battle of the Bands, and were booked by Manny Theiner into venues like the Thunderbird Cafe, 31st Street Pub, The Shadow Lounge, Belvedere's, The Smiling Moose, Howler's and the Garfield Art Works.

A self described indy-folk-prog group, they've been playing selections from their original repertoire of songs. And this is one Oakland band that eschewed the Decade/Electric Banana-inspired bar rock/punk genre. SleepyV is acoustic and backed by reeds and strings, pop troubadours with a classical sensibility. Heck, their EP is even divided into two movements, and several of their tunes feature the dead stop transition common in symphonic compositions.

In addition to bassist/vocalist Greenwood, the band features Gene Paul Vercammen on lead vocals/guitar, Derek Krystek behind the kit and on the hand sets, John Manganaro playing trumpet, flutist Dominique Dela Cruz, and Sarah Greenwood on violin. The EP includes clarinet recorded by Tessa Lewis-Whitson and a rap verse thrown down by Joe Kennedy of the 1s and 2s.

The release party is on Tuesday the 28th at the Frick Fine Arts building in Schenley Plaza, across from The Carnegie Library (Room 125 - doors open at seven, show begins at eight), and it's free with munchies. "The Storybook" will be downloadable the same day on a name-your-own-price basis at

Greenwood explains the concept record and its name this way: "The music on our EP fills the role that illustrations would play in a regular storybook while the lyrics express the thoughts of a protagonist and the demons in his mind. It's almost like a modern version of Prokofiev's 'Peter and the Wolf.'"

Well, we'll take his word about all that. Old Mon's merrily misspent days have somehow managed to avoid mash ups with Russian composers (well, except for Tchaikovsky. We like things that end with a bang.) But he has run across a lot of singer/songwriters in his day, and if they had the chops to shed their shell, collaborate, and play in front of a band, the result would be SleepyV.

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