Have Gun, Will Travel

Have Gun, Will Travel will return to Gaineville and perform their first new album in four years

Have Gun, Will Travel will be returning to the stage to support the release of its sixth studio album, “Strange Chemistry.”

The Bradenton-based band is kicking off its tour in Gainesville on Thursday, July 11 at Loosey’s Downtown. The studio album will be released from Mile Wide Records July 12. Admission to the event is $8 at the door.

Have Gun, Will Travel consists of singer-guitarist, Matt Burke; bassist, Daniel Burke; guitarist, Scott Anderson; drummer, JP Beaubien and keyboardist, Edward Stork. The roots-rock group combines punk, folk and country influences to create a unique sound paired with songwriting that discusses the complexities of life.

The band formed in 2006 after Burke, the lead singer, started to experiment with his own sound while a part of Chase Theory, a punk-indie band. Burke eventually left the band to start Have Gun, Will Travel.

“The songwriting I was doing was kind of taking a little bit of a different turn,” he said. “It wasn’t the kind of stuff we were doing with the band, and that’s what became the first version of Have Gun, Will Travel.”

The band went on to release five records, its most recent being “Science from an Easy Chair,” an ambitiously crafted concept album based on British explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton’s journey through the Antarctic.

After touring around the U.S. to promote the album, Burke and the rest of the group were creatively exhausted. They decided to take a year off to deal with personal matters.

“There was a lot of homework involved in making a record like that,” Burke said. “So, I was kind of exhausted and tired of songwriting in general. I just needed a little break.”

The band’s hiatus ended two years ago when Burke began to write songs that would be the starting point for “Strange Chemistry.” This time, Burke took a completely different approach.

“Instead of doing this storytelling thing, I was feeling the need to be a little more personal,” he said. “So, that’s the kind of direction that this record started to take.”  

The songs were later engineered by guitarist Anderson and recorded in a friend’s studio called Burnt Orange. When the band finished, it took the album to people outside of the band to gain feedback.  

“It’s so hard to make certain kind of production decisions when you’re still in the middle of it,” Burke said.

Burke hopes supporters of the band will find comfort in the intimate approach of “Strange Chemistry.”

“I feel like the last one might have been intimidating to somebody who maybe wasn’t familiar with us,” he said. “So with this one I’m hoping just to have a personal touch to be able to connect with people in a way that maybe that one didn’t.”