Thursday, July 05, 2007


Two Gallants come from California. They are Adam Stephens and Tyson Vogel, and they're no slouches when it comes to songwriting. The partnership began when the two were both 20 years of age, as they began gigging around their home turf of San Fransisco in 2002. They signed with Saddle Creek in 2005, released What the Toll Tells in 2006, and before this year is over they will have released a stripped-down EP called The Scenery of Farewell along with a self-titled, full length album.

The name Two Gallants comes from a short story written by James Joyce in 1914, that was included in his Dubliners collection and summarized like so:
In the evening, a young man named Corley is walking with his friend Lenehan and telling him about a woman he has seduced. His attitude towards her is clearly scornful, and he is happy to relate that she pays his tram fare and has brought him cigars stolen from the house where she is a maid. Corley considers the arrangement superior to when he used to take women out and spend money on them. A rendezvous has been arranged with the woman.

As Corley meets her, Lenehan appraises her at a distance, yielding an unflattering description of her physical attributes. Over a supper of peas, Lenehan thinks enviously of Corley and contemplates his own lack of achievement at the age of thirty. He dreams of settling down with a woman who has money. After eating, Lenehan wanders around a bit more before meeting up with Corley at a previously arranged time. Corley presents him with a gold coin that the woman has just stolen.
Check out a recent Q&A with Gallant guitarist Adam Stephens at Synthesis, where he gives a bit of info about the EP:
The EP, which was released June 19th, holds a completely different vibe from past creations, a straight acoustic set of songs, with a drawl of harmonica and overall slower, ballad pace.

“This is sort of just like a collection of songs that have been around for a while, but haven’t really found their home anywhere yet,” Stephens said. “We wanted to create a place to put them out.”

A long, hard listen to the words amidst the instrumentals opens ears to lyrically painted portraits of much older men. Yet these aged, unruly characters are born from the mind of an old soul only in his 20s. Is this an intentional story writing style?

“I really have no idea, it’s sort of beyond me,” Stephens said. “It’s nothing we choose to analyze, never intentional or conscious on our parts. They [the lyrics] dictate where they go and what they’re about. It’s not like sitting down one morning and deciding to write about a specific event; songs just kind of go word by word, like stepping stones.”
Once when I was daily growing
Dressed in red from head to toe
You were all the thoughts I was knowing

And the sun gave shine, no care the season
While I learned my one, two, three's
You fell in to teach me treason

And now I spend my each day busy
Jumping on the monkey show
Jumping on the monkey show
Searching for a face I know

And I just walk for hours
Down the red-brick march of market street
Of market street
I spend my each days in repeat

And lady, she's all right with me
Done borrowed all my empathy
And you know she got the best of me
'Cause she's not lying next to me

And all things fine, sweet day beginning
I got up and fell right in
Climbed up to where you was living

And you stood in the backdoor yawning
That cruel way that leads me on
You're the reason I wake each morning

And sunshine plays the puddles
Through the mornings evenings afternoons
Evenings afternoons
I count my thoughts with coffee spoons

And something reeks of heave 'neath the highway where the hobos sleep
Where the hobos sleep
And laugh about the pains I keep

And lady, she's a friend of mine
'Cause I know how to take my time
I can't say that without lyin'
So I'll try not to try next time

And I ain't got no one to bear my burdens
Though I could pay with sips of wine
Old men like me just tuck their shirts in

Too busy running out
Though we do our best to do without
Still too busy running out of time

Well lady I can't take no rest
With all this weight across my chest
Yesterday I loved the best
Don't borrow too much happiness

Get more at the Two Gallants official site.