Saddle Creek | Adam Haworth Stephens | Reviews


Local Music News

10/01/2010 | SF Weekly | | Album Review
Cliffs' variety: There's so much storytelling and keen songcraft in the work of Two Gallants, if the local outfit wasn't a folk-punk duo it would have felt appropriate to call it Adam Stephens'singer-songwriter project. Now Stephens officially deserves the tag with his solo debut, We Live on Cliffs (attributed to Adam Haworth Stephens), which is being celebrated with a headlining gig on Saturday, Oct. 2, at the Independent. "I wrote all the songs on this record in a very brief period of time," he says. "Few of them ever got to go through live tests, let alone the gauntlet of a full tour, as pretty much every Two Gallants song did before being recorded. Recording songs that I hardly even knew myself sort of leant the whole experience a feeling of nervous excitement."

Produced by Joe Chiccarelli (American Music Club, Oingo Boingo, The Verlaines), We Live on Cliffs shows off a softer side of Stephens, and finds his music swelling with the sound of strings, piano, mandolin, and more played by people like My Morning Jacket's Patrick Hallahan and Bo Koster, Joey Waronker, and Vetiver's Andy Cabic. "Everyone brought a lot of significant input to the record," Stephens says. "I have the tendency to write pretty long, at times unfocused songs, and Joe helped me tighten the reins a bit."

As for the future of Two Gallants, Stephens says he and drummer Tyson Vogel (who has a new outlet called Devotionals) are content for now channeling their energies into their respective side projects. "Tyson and I have been friends since we were 5 and toured together like we were attached at the hip for more than seven years, so discussing it is kind of personal," he says. "I miss playing music with him, but we're both focused on what we're doing right now."
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