Archer vs. Gunman Get Back in Stride

Shaun Williams performing with Mountain Homes at Clemson’s Spring Fest.

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Archer vs. Gunman with Our Western Sky

Saturday August 11 8:30 PM at The Handlebar

Fall of 2011 was a tough time for Archer vs. Gunman. The band that had been an anchor of the Upstate music community for so long was starting to come apart. Front-man Shaun Williams was in a wheel chair, with his leg lifted and straightened out in a long black brace as he looked up at their Camperdown Stage lifted high off the ground as he waited to perform at the 2011 Fall For Greenville Festival. The motorcycle accident that limited his mobility turned out to be more reflective of the state of Archer vs. Gunman.

“We had a bad spell for a while:  from having a failed recording, to having a founding member quit, to having a busted up front-man at some big shows.  It was tough.  We’re lucky to still be together.  It took a lot of hope to keep from all falling apart.”

It was this time that Williams joined up with Mountain Homes, a Greenville folk outfit where he wouldn’t be the center of attention. Filling in playing guitar for Mountain Homes wasn’t a way of shifting his focus off Archer vs. Gunman, but more a way to take some time to regroup. And as Archer transitioned, Mountain Homes took stride.

The time off did Archer vs. Gunman good. Their new EP Beneath Fading Lights clocks in at just eight minutes and is a beautiful snapshot of life. It oozes with nostalgia and hope, with Williams seemingly forcing as many memories as possible into those three songs. Beneath Fading Lights tells its’ story, but there’s more in the tank. When asked about the length and depth of the new material Williams said

“I reckon three songs was all it took to tell the story and its important to know when to end a story.  We plan on getting back into the studio and finishing our full length, Breaking Hearts is Easy.”

In one breath Williams talks about the scheduling struggles the band has to deal with, with two members living out-of-state. In another you know he couldn’t be happier with the people he’s playing with today.

“You know, this is my dream band.  Before Randy (Guitar) and Wilson (keyboard, tambourine, voice) and Carsyn (Bass, voice) joined Archer, Andrew (drums) and I were their fans.  It’s nice to look over and see them by me onstage and hear them on record.”

In 2010 Archer vs Gunman was constantly out-of-town on weekends playing shows across the Southeast. Testing themselves and their material week in and week out in front of strange audiences and reworking material to become a better band. Today Archer vs. Gunman is more calculated and focused. They are at the center of a growing Greenville music community that includes a variety of bands finding popularity like Modern Man, Culture Prophet, and Mountain Homes. Greenville, the little town sandwiched between Charlotte and Atlanta is something that Williams is proud of.

Saturday night Archer vs. Gunman will have their first release in nearly two years at The Handlebar, supported by Our Western Sky. What Williams wants out of the EP and the release show is simple.

“I want it to sound good and then I want the release show to be awesome and that’s about as far as Ive gotten.  It’d be nice if people liked it.”