Gunslinger's Dream
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Gunslinger's Dream


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Local band finds 'dream' success"

By Lauren Sakol
Published: Friday, November 4, 2005

Whether they are remembered as the guys who won this year's Battle of the Bands Contest, or as the band playing every genre imaginable, Gunslinger's Dream seems to have made quite a name for themselves.

The band name itself originated when Tim Cartland, singer and guitarist of Gunslinger's Dream, and Chai Abdennabi, another guitarist for the band, decided to buy a distortion pedal. Cartland's dreadlocks and Abdennabi's long hair down to his back caught the attention of a man working at the store.

The man at the counter asked if they were in a band and what music they played, and the conversation gave Cartland and Abdennabi the idea for their band name.

"He said he hated the Blues, and I was like 'how do you hate the Blues? I don't understand.' [Then the sales associate] said 'the Blues are a gunslinger's dream,'" Abdennabi explained.

Later in the day, Abdenabbi said Cartland expressed how he thought Gunslinger's Dream would make a good band name. From that point on the name just stuck.

Abdennabi said the band has been together as Gunslinger's Dream since January.

This is not the first time Abdennabi has been in a band. He was in a band with Gunslinger's drummer, Mike Krazowski, while in junior high school, but the band was short-lived.

Current roommates, Abdennabi and Cartland met their freshman year and have kept in touch since. The two said they met a third member of their band randomly.

"We were just kind of jamming with some musicians when we met our bass player, Gordon [Higgason]," Abdennabi said.

Abdennabi explained how he met another current member of Gunslinger's Dream when he saw a chalking on the sidewalk of a piano player seeking a band. That was Nick Wygonik, the band's current keyboard, piano and organ player.

Then the decision of if the band needed a lead singer came into play.

At first Wygonik and Krazowski were not convinced a singer was needed for the band, Abdennabi said.

Cartland went through a three-month long "audition" where the band practiced with the vocalist, until they decided he was a good addition to the group.

Cartland joined choir in junior high and has been singing ever since. Once he got to college, Cartland began contributing his vocals to the band.

While he was growing up, Cartland's favorite artists were Metallica, Eminem, Jay Z and Ozzy, and his inspiration seemed to come from several sources.

"[These were] a lot of people who were able to put together words in a way that hadn't been done before," Cartland explained.

He also said the lyrics for Gunslinger's Dream's songs are taken from many everyday situations.

"[We get inspiration from] the news and issues that are important to people our age and society as a whole," Cartland said.

"It has a lot to do with normal things that an individual would go through as well as societal [issues]," Cartland said.

In terms of music style, Cartland explained he attempted to narrow the wide variety of genres the group covers.

"We don't stick to a traditional pop form, but we like to progress through different sections of songs and not really repeat a lot of choruses," Cartland said.

Abdennabi described Gunslinger's Dream as a rock band. In terms of musical influence, Abdennabi said Wygonik looks up to Radiohead and Phish, and the band even follows traditional jazz and techno music.

Cartland said he considers Bob Marley when he thinks about music. Lyrically, though, he said he looks up to Bob Dylan, Eminem and Jay Z.

"I think it comes down to lyrics and not necessarily voice quality, but how songwriters write and how they say what they have to say," he explained.

The band members' musical areas are not limited solely to what they contribute directly to the band. Wygonik has two keyboards, which he plays facing each other at a 90 degree angle.

"Nick has an organ, and he also plays a piano which has other effects on it, too," Cartland said.

When performing in harmony, it may seem the band produces an almost overwhelming sound.

"At times it can sound like we're using [around] 10 instruments at once, when it's really just the five of us," Abdennabi said.

The group is also known to do cover songs, such as tracks by Pink Floyd, along with their own original pieces. Other times they cover artists like Tom Petty or Ben Harper.

"It's good for the audience and good for the band to have a good time," Cartland said.

- The Daily Vidette

"A&R Critique"

It sounds to me that the band has put a lot of time and effort into this recording. I think I'm most impressed by the fact that you've already begun to establish a very unique sounding stylistic identity, and that you are in the process of developing the chops necessary to compete on a level with the big boys. If I could make any sort of recommendation it would be to continue to work hard at your craft, and I would also like to encourage you to work on a slightly more unified visual appearance. I'm assuming this is your first CD, and for an initial effort it seems pretty solid. Don't stop writing, performing.

Listener ID# 79 -

"Editor's Pick"

Gunslinger's Dream's album "Love Free Work" was chosen as an editor's pick in November on -

"Love Free Work"

By Jordan Richmond

I think this is one of the top albums I have heard this year. It is original, creative, trendsetting and visionary. I simply can't wait to see what the band does next. - DogOnTreadmill Productions

"Review of Love Free Work"

By Silas Durocher
Posted on Sunday, February 10, 2008 @ 15:00:46 EST

The Skinny:
Gunslinger’s Dream has put out a cleverly organized CD of crisp, original songs.

The Details:
Love Free Work, the first full-length release from Chicago’s Gunslinger’s Dream, is a wonderfully cohesive album. The structure of the CD and the flow of the songs create a very intentional listening experience in which you are lead from one solid tune to the next.

Like most bands today, Gunslinger’s Dream moves through various styles, from straight-ahead rock n’ roll, to reggae, to funk, to hard rock. The first and the last songs, however, are beautifully sung piano ballads, distinctly different from the rest of the music. Contributing heavily to the album’s unified feel, these stylistically unique songs (for this band) round off the CD a la Pink Floyd’s Animals. In addition, several of the songs transition directly into the next, further developing the seamless texture of Love Free Work. But beyond these tangible qualities, the music really feels cohesive because it sounds like it was written by a group of friends. There is a chemistry to it that is unique to groups who have been comrades, co-writers, and musical companions for years.

Really, the best thing about Love Free Work is that it is Gunslinger’s Dream’s first album. While there are some small imperfections -- spots where the rhythm waivers ever so slightly or where the recording needs a fatter, fuller sound -- the band manages to avoid most of the common pitfalls of a first recording. The songs are tight, without unnecessarily long or noodly solos, there are no extended intros or jams, and they didn’t go overboard with effects. This is particularly relevant because they sound like the type of band that gets into these kinds of things live, which is the perfect place to do it. But when you buy this band’s CD, you’re buying it for thoughtful, well-performed songs, not to hear the world’s most virtuosic guitar solo. And while no band can usually see it in their own music, another common pitfall, of course, is filler-songs. I can confidently report to the reader that Love Free Work is filler free. Sure, not everyone is going to love this band, but if you like one song, you’ll like them all.

I can’t end this review without discussing the band’s name. I’ll admit, I had some serious doubts when I first got the CD. After listening to their music, I decided to believe that the name is tongue and cheek, a sarcastic joke or maybe social commentary, rather than to believe that these musicians are actually gun-toting hippie rockers. Their website says only that a previous incarnation of the band was called Orpheus, and that when the current sound developed “it was clear that Orpheus no longer described the mission ... Gunslinger's Dream was officially in full swing.” Well, that didn’t answer my question.


"Chi-Tunes Feature Article"

By Jennifer Wagner
For RedEye
Published February 21 2008

Gunslinger's Dream would feel right at home on the DIY network.

When guitarist Chai Abdennabi, drummer Mike Krasowski, bass player Gordon Higgason and vocalist Tim Cartland say they're careful with their funds, they mean it.

They met at Illinois State University in Normal, and for Abdennabi, a thrifty, do-it-yourself lifestyle began right off the bat.

"I rented a house, built a stage in my basement, painted the floor black and had a bunch of my artist friends paint murals on the wall," he said. "We created our own club, our own scene. ... We had a bar."

After they got their degrees, the members of Gunslinger's Dream relocated to Chicago, where they've continued being smart with their dough.

"Everything we make goes into a band fund; we've never really split it," Cartland said. "So we've been saving for a couple of years."

Enough to fund the production of the band's current record, "Love Free Work." The album couldn't be more aptly named. Almost everything was done pro bono; the guys enlisted friends to pitch in on engineering, production, artwork, photography--everything.

Saving money on production allowed Gunslinger's Dream to schedule a tour of Kansas, Iowa and Colorado in March. But on the road, like everywhere else, they're as economical as always.

Just ask Higgason.

"I bring an AeroBed every time," he said.

[ jennifer wagner is a redeye special contributor. ] - Redeye Chicago


Love Free Work (Studio, 2007)
Hostage Radio Summer '07 (Compilation, 2007)
Wrecking Ball EP (Studio, 2006)
Where The Hell Is Des Plaines? (Compilation, 2006)
Love Free Work EP (Studio, 2005)
Live At Wise Fools (Live, 2005)



Gunslinger's Dream was born in 2003 when Chai Abdennabi, Mike Krasowski, Gordon Higgason and, former keyboard player, Nick Wygonik began holding regular rehearsals and gigs under the name Orpheus. Simultaneously, Chai and Tim Cartland were writing songs and rehearsing as an acoustic project. Orpheus needed a singer and Tim needed a band. It was the fall of 2004 when the two came together. With the meshing of the two projects, it was clear that Orpheus no longer described the mission. Gunslinger's Dream was officially in full swing.

All of the band members met at Illinois State University in Bloomington/Normal, Illinois. Trying to knock out some degrees and keeping a band running at capacity was tough. After some grueling school work mixed with long all-night rehearsals, all the members graduated with degrees ranging from theater to media to business and back again.

After school, Gunslinger's Dream looked around to find they had built a steady fan base in the Bloomington area. Their jam/rock/funk style was well-received by the college population. Feeling the momentum, they set their target on Chicago. All of the members were from the Chicagoland area which made the transition easy. But it wasn't as easy as it could have been.

In the winter of 2005/2006, as the members were gearing up to move back home, Nick decided he had other ventures that he wished to pursue. Losing one of the main songwriters was a gut check for the band. Questions surfaced about the longevity of the band and the direction Gunslinger's Dream was going to follow. They had just laid down tracks for an EP entitled "Love Free Work" with the keyboard player. Without him, what was next?

Early in 2006, Gunslinger's Dream, with Hedroom Productions, played a show in Des Plaines at a bar called Excueses. It was quite a party. They had originally cancelled the show because of the loss of the member, but were reinstated at the last minute due to the cancellation of another band. The show could not have gone better. The sound worked; the originals, the covers, the crowd and the band. It all came together like it should. It was then and there that Chai, Mike, Tim and Gordon reopened their big dreams.

A consistent gig schedule would follow but some things needed to be addressed. The set list was looking pretty slim after the keyboard player left with his songs. 2006 held room for growth. Gunslinger's Dream had a new sound without the organ/piano. It was a sound that was based on their original concepts but was evolving into something better.

This concept is a mixture of upbeat and danceable rock with reggae and house. The music surrounds a positive vibe with lyrics that not only pose questions and problems, but attempt to come to conclusions and solutions. Socially conscious, but down to earth, Gunslinger's Dream is a democratic process that yields "real" songs. After writing numerous songs throughout the winter and spring, they decided to take that new sound back to the studio.

Gunslinger's Dream flew in producer Brandon Hickey from his job as an instructor at the Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences in Tempe, Arizona. They met at Studio Chicago for a weekend and squeezed out four more songs. Sitting in on percussion was a friend of Gordon’s. He goes by the name Peter Yi. Things were clicking together. The intense, non-stop work paid off with an EP entitled "Wrecking Ball."

2006/2007 proved to be a foothold in their careers. Armed with a beefed up set list, new covers and an ambitious sound, Gunslinger’s Dream pulled off everything from dive-bar shows around Illinois and Wisconsin to bigger music venues in Chicago. They have always been asked to come back making three appearances at Duffy's original band night and returning to Wise Fools Pub for their CD release pary in November. They came back to ISU's Springfest for the third year in a row, opening for Lucky Boys Confusion, and held down two shows a month in Algonquin for more than six months running. Gunslinger's Dream was also recieved as the "best experience" at Camped Out, a rave in Wisconsin, where their blend of originals and live house music jams drew a crowd.

And things keep getting bigger. Consistently producing a high-energy show that is sure to draw the attention of everybody in ear-shot, Gunslinger's Dream keeps the crowd alive wherever they play!

Previous Experience:

Clearwater Theater - West Dundee, IL
The Canopy Club – Champaign/Urbana, IL
Goose Island - Chicago, IL
Wise Fools Pub – Chicago, IL
Lock Stock & Barrel – Decatur, IL
Duffy's - Chicago, IL
Springfest – ISU Quad
Camped Out 2007 - Milwaukee, WI
The Elbo Room - Chicago, IL
Illinois Brewing Company – Bloomington, IL
Earth Day Festival 2004 – Normal, IL
The Uptowner - Charleston, IL
Jimmy D's Neighborhood Inn - Algonquin, IL
That's What She Said - De Pere, WI
Sylvie's Lounge - Chicago, IL
The Bird's Nest - Chicago, IL
Papa T's - Chicago, IL
Gulliver's Bar & Grill -