Reviews

Adam H Stephens takes solo record to Harper's Ferry

Author: Ryan Bray
10/28/2010 | Boston Examiner | www.examiner.com | Feature
As one half of the guitar/drum country blues duo Two Gallants, Adam H Stephens knows a thing or two about doing more with less. But his first full length solo effort, We Live On Cliffs, finds the singe/songwriter filling out his rustic repertoire into a more streamlined county rock affair. We caught up with Stephens on the road prior to Thursday's show at Harper's Ferry to talk about going solo.

Examiner: The solo record, We Live On Cliffs, came out last month. How has touring behind the new disc been?

AHS: It's been fun. We've been out with the Felice Brothers the whole time. The crowds have been good and we're getting a good reception. Really can't complain at all.

Examiner: What dove you to go solo apart from your work with Two Gallants? Was this record something you've had in mind for a while?

AHS: I just started writing songs that didn't exactly fit what Tyson (Vogel, Two Gallants drummer) and I were doing. It was an interesting opportunity to try out different instrumentation and get some other people involved. I've played solo before, so it wasn't completely new to me. The timing was just right to do the record.

Examiner: When you were writing did you know you were writing for a solo record, or were they Two Gallants songs that didn't pan out?

AHS: They were specifically for the solo record, but I don't think of them much as two different things. These songs just worked better in another context.

Examiner: We Live On Cliffs sounds much more like a proper, straight ahead country rock record, whereas your stuff with Tyson is a lot more stripped down. What bands or sounds influenced what you were doing on record?

AHS: I don't know. It's kind of hard to think about. When Tyson and I first stated playing I was listening to a lot of country, blues and traditional folk music. There's still a lot of that on this record. I was listening to a lot of 70s country rock too, stuff like the Band.

Examiner: You've mentioned that a lot of the music on the solo album were driven by desperation. What is about that mindset that motivates you as a songwriter?

AHS: Well, I meant it kind of generally. I don't really know how to do it any other way. At least for me, that's just how the songs get written. And that's not the case for all of the songs. Some of the songs are more lighthearted and don't have that same urgency. It's a characteristic that's not as much in me as it is in my songwriting.

Examiner: Any thought's on Thursday's show in Boston?

AHS: I'm definitely looking forward to it. I've haven't played Boston in two years, but it's always gone well. Good people, good town. It'll be fun.

Examiner: Your show is one of the last at Harper's Ferry before it closes up for good on Sunday.

AHS: No way. Really? We'll have to do something special then.

Adam H Stephens w/ the Felice Brothers. Thursday night at 8PM at Harper's Ferry (158 Brighton Ave, Allston). For more information call the Harper'd Ferry box office at 617-254-9743.