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Based out of suburban Chicago, emo-inflected alt-rockers Sleeping At Last formed in 1999 around the talents of guitarist/vocalist Ryan O'Neal, drumming sibling Chad O'Neal, and bass player Dan Perdue. The trio began to build a local following, playing wherever possible and doing the occasional support gig. After sparking the interest of Billy Corgan with their self-released full-length, Capture, the erstwhile Smashing Pumpkin aided the group in securing a record deal with Interscope, who signed the band in late 2002. Ghosts, their official debut, appeared in October 2003, followed by a national tour opening for Switchfoot. The independently released Keep No Score arrived in 2006, followed in 2009 by Storyboards, the latter of which featured orchestral arrangements by Van Dyke Parks.
By this time, Sleeping At Last had become a solo vehicle for Ryan O'Neal, who was reaping the rewards of a burgeoning composing career, landing songs on popular television shows like Grey's Anatomy, Bones, Criminal Minds, Believe, and So You Think You Can Dance; the SAL song "Turning Page" appeared in two versions of the original motion picture soundtrack for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn as well. O'Neal is also the composer for the Rainn Wilson-produced children's program Kid President: Declaration of Awesome on the HUB network. In 2011, under the SAL moniker, O'Neal began releasing three songs a month for the ambitious, subscription-based Yearbook project. The long-form, conceptual Atlas enterprise followed the same format in 2013, with its first installment, Atlas: Year One (30 songs), reaching completion the following year. The ABC (for Grey's Anatomy)-commissioned Covers, Vol. 1 arrived that same year.