Childhood friends Adam Stephens and Tyson Vogel have been playing music together for over a decade and performing as Two Gallants since 2002. Their newest record, a self-titled release on Saddle Creek, showcases their talent for blending traditional folk and blues with a rock edge, creating an infectious lo-fi indie sound that is at once a breath of fresh air and a staunch reminder of the timelessness of American music.
Though some may perceive Two Gallants’ approach to music as unusual, the way singer-guitarist Stephens describes it, their pairing of old and new was obvious. “I’ve been interested in traditional music for a long time and in music even older than our grandparents. Tyson [drums] came from a heavier background and played in sort of a heavy death metal screamo thing before we started this.” In Two Gallants, they found a common ground between their musical tastes.
Known for their hard work ethic as well as their musicianship, 2007 has been an especially fruitful year. Along with completing the new record, the band’s third, they released acoustic EP The Scenery of Farewell in June, and have maintained a rigorous touring schedule including stints with Les Claypool and Against Me!
Two Gallants recorded The Scenery of Farewell and their new album with producer Alex Newport, whose long list of credits includes records by The Locust and At the Drive In. “Sonically, it is way beyond our last record because Alex Newport is pretty amazing at being an engineer and getting good sounds.”
Though Scenery contains an array of road-weary songs about loneliness and longing, made all the more poignant by Stephens’ emotive vocals, the new record sees the band becoming more meticulous in crafting rock songs. Stephens assesses, “It is a little more focused, more concise, and to the point. There are no two and-a-half-minute songs, but they aren’t as sprawling as we’ve done before.”
Even with their cascade of new material and a steadily growing fan base, Stephens can only guess at what is in store for the band, musically and professionally. “We don’t really talk about the future too much. We don’t really have a scheme or plan on what we’re going to be doing next.” So far, no plan seems to be working out
UNEXPECTED ACOUSTIC RECORDS
Though it is reasonable to expect a good acoustic record from earthy, textured rock bands such as Two Gallants, for other artists, the “unplugged” approach seems to come out of left field.
Erasure: Union Street (Mute, 2003; Acoustic Live 2006)
Vince Clark and Andy Bell reinterpreted their classic electro-pop tunes into a country-western style. Although it received mixed reviews, it most certainly introduced new fans to the depth of their songwriting and Bell’s soaring voice.
Greg Gaffin: Cold As Clay (Anti-, 2006)
Generations of punks have long revered Gaffin as the voice of stalwarts Bad Religion. His soft, smooth delivery has set him apart from other punk singers and has lent itself well to an album of old-time folk and country tunes.
Apocalyptica (Various Titles)
This isn’t so much a specific album, but the fact that a cello quartet could kick more ass playing Metallica covers than Lars Ulrich does battling internet file sharers. Okay, maybe it’s not that hard. Now predominately focused on their own compositions, a sixth album is expected later in 2007.
– Jamie Ludwig