Showing posts with label "Two Gallants". Show all posts
Showing posts with label "Two Gallants". Show all posts


Two Gallants: Review

The Dynamic duo Two Gallants kick it up full throttle with their new self-titled release Two Gallants on Saddle Creek Records. The raw, electric, folk rock recording of nine fully developed songs gives the music community what it has been missing: a soul. Adam Stephens (guitar/vocals/harmonica) and Tyson Vogel (drums/vocals) have formed a dynamic musical force that has enabled them to create art in music. With the guided astute production by Alex Newport, the sound is perfectly produced and not overproduced.

The recording, attitude, straightforwardness, raw quality, emotional levels, and full-bodied sound do not get better than this. I marvel at their musicianship because it has an immediate presence. I described their recently released EP, The Scenery of Farewell, as acoustic bliss. “Trembling of the Rose” is the only acoustic offering on this release, the other eight tracks are electric. The emotional and raw traits of this recording are even more striking because the music’s intensity and pace meet up with the highs and lows of the storytelling.

The flat-picking electric guitar leads echo in the desolate open air, allowing every note to resonate. Stephen’s harmonica bleeds with affectation while Vogel pounds the drums and clashes the cymbals with impending abandon.

Stephen is a raw folk storyteller who pens a hard-to-the-core palette, evoking ties that bind. The lyrical entries are of loss and abandonment, hate, lust, and heart-wrenching tales that are at times scornful with a vengeance.

Each track starts out differently, adding to the variety of the mix. "Reflections of a Marionette” shows off that diversity. Featuring a slew of styles so imaginatively synchronized to form an integral whole. Vehemently stating / I hope your gone by the time this song is through /. Then the scornful flurry in the chorus / I don’t want to see you fall/ I want you see you fail / catapults the song into a vindictive territory.

“The Hand That Held Me Down” describes the ultimate human betrayal with words that hurt like, / the heights to which you drag me / just to hurl your scorn /. The accusation of the chorus / did you hold the hand that held me down /, captures the essence of disloyalty while the harmonica simulates the vulnerable feelings expressed.

Rarely does Stephen’s use words that give an indication of time and place. In the last track, "My Baby's Gone,” he uses a contemporary reference quite effectively; he quietly moans, / I’ve lost my floaty, then he cries with a whisper / my baby’s gone /. The pace quickens epically, and the quietly whispered phrase becomes the roar of a relenting chorus.

“Fly Low Carrion Crow” is the most interesting from a vocal standpoint. Stephen’s trades in his strained throaty vocals for a more restrained lower register. In the song “Miss Merri” the cowboy bass line is an inferential musical clue reflecting the loss of America's soul in the sprawling fields of suburbia. / Oh miss merri don’t despair me / we got ways to numb your pain / same old story / blood, sweat, glory / just hope all your trials were in vain.

These collections of songs indulge my emotions. I revel in the lyrics and music to feel alive with pain. You don’t have to be there to go there. I would love the Two Gallants to write more about the state of the world, topics of great importance, and political and social unrest. They have the power in their writing and music to stir the nation, for now, they stir the soul.

Two Gallants 4Play Filmed by Saddle Creek Records:

Daytrotter Sessions: Two Gallants Encore
The Hand That Held Me Down MP3


Two Gallants The Scerery of Farewell / Review

The Two Gallants new EP release entitled “The Scenery Of Farewell” is an outstanding acoustic offering. The five tracks exemplify folk music with a hard edge and a soulful timbre. They’ve successfully woven lyrical ballads with a sound that has weight and resonance.

Adam Stephens raspy worn vocals and astute harmonica playing, cries and bends to reach emotional heights. He boldly finger picks the guitar, while Tyson Vogel lends percussion elements and sings in a softer and higher vocal range. Adding to the mix are the violin, cello, stand up bass and piano passages that fill the memorable melodies.

I love the strong acoustic quality of these recordings. The songs were produced and recorded on tape by Alex Newport. This required several live takes to arrive at the right feel, rather than piecing together and editing parts. The end result is a very organic minimal sound.

The writing style is indicative of oral histories written in the first person. The song structure opens up avenues for the listener, using poetic lyrical phrasing and a variety of reference points.

The first track “Seems Like Home To Me” is a tour de force, capitalizing on the vocals of the two members. The song starts off with the Two Gallants singing in unison. Then in just one passage Stephens’ sings alone deriving an affecting rendering of the lyrics. This song about longing to be set free, proclaims / baby let your light shine on me / when I’m lost on the road / you know you can set me free / you can ease my love /. As the song builds the forceful steady beat of the bass drum is added leading to the songs crescendo, a rich and glorious chorus declaring / I’ve been gone so long / it seems like home to me /.

“Lady” starts out slowly with guitar strumming, as an aging man struggles over being / too busy running out of time /. He thinks about his regrets and worries over his personal troubles while comparing them to others. Thus the weaving of contrasts… / something reeks of heaven beneath the highway where the hobos sleep / where the hobos sleep / and I laugh about the pains I keep /.

The emotional description of despair
in “Up the Country” works because the heartbreaking words are perceived through the instruments. Blending the harmonica, violin and cello to hauntingly pause, as if to sob. He proclaims / now there are criminals in my head that lead me to disgrace / so lost I best not be found /. The sadness seeps in and he laments / my tongue no longer tastes / and states / not sure how long I’ll stick around /.

The soulful harmonica plays in “All Your Faithless Loyalties” as the song starts with the opening phrase / let this be are last goodbye /. Describing the tentative nature of breaking up, / I’ve known lonesome things you can’t come back from /. Realizing that the inevitable result will be… / I know we’ll be strangers in the end /. The choral segments sung beautifully by Vogel, reflects the weariness of in-decision as time goes by singing / oh oh oh oh oooh.

Ending the collection with “Linger On” The piano, violin and harmonica intertwine and swell to present the essence of lingering thoughts about the end of a long and complicated relationship. Stephens' sings / I know I never meant you any harm / the suffocating shelter of your arms / if I did you wrong / It wasn’t me, but you who wrote this song / linger on / linger on /… PLEASE….

This evolved collection of songs is a welcome addition to the growing discography of this young band. It does linger. Their follow up will be a full-length release due out in September of this year. It is an electric session recorded again with the help of Alex Newport. I look forward to their next offering.

Recorded on tape by Alex Newport at Hyde Street Studios in San Francisco.

Featured: Jackie Perez Gratz on cello, Anton Patzner on the violin and Chico Tunney on the upright bass.
Artwork was laid out by: Mr. Maust of the cold war kids. The Front photo by: Wignall and back photo by Mr. Jakie Peanuts Snavely.

Track listing:
1. Seems like home to me 2. Lady 3. Up the country 4. All your faithless loyalties 5. Linger on

Label: Saddle Creek Records purchase CD

Two Gallants myspace

"Seems Like Home To Me" mp3