Tampa Bay-based alt-country group Have Gun, Will Travel began as the solo project of lead singer and songwriter Matthew Burke, but has since become a full band. Burke put out HGWT’s self-titled debut release on his own in 2006. For the band’s sophomore release,Casting Shadows Tall as Trees, he’s assembled a group of six players, including his brother, Daniel Burke on bass. Casting Shadows is steeped in the country twinges of lap steel, harmonica, banjo, strings, and acoustic guitars. The record’s true strength is its artful tributes to classic westerns, tying the album stylistically and thematically to the wild-west in all its gun-blazing glory.
Have Gun, Will Travel takes its name from the title of a famous 1950s gunslinging western TV show. The show followed Paladin, a gentlemen gunfighter whose calling card was the visage of a chess knight — the same knight that graces the cover of the HGWT’s Casting Shadows Tall as Trees. But the tribute goes beyond titles and packaging; Burke’s rich songwriting weaves classic western themes of life and death, honor, and morality throughout the record’s narrative songs.