When Adam Stephens and Tyson Vogel began playing San Francisco street corners and house parties a decade ago under the banner of Two Gallants — a reference to a story in James Joyce’s Dubliners — they were just 21 years old. The interesting twist is that by then, the Folk rockers were childhood friends that had already been playing together for nearly 10 years.
Stephens and Vogel both recorded solo efforts before officially forming Two Gallants in 2002; two years later, they signed with the Alive imprint and released their debut, The Throes. The debut release was followed by a couple of full-lengths and assorted EPs for Saddle Creek (including What the Toll Tells, featuring their raucous “Las Cruces Jail”) and now 2G’s first new album in five years and debut for ATO Records, The Bloom and the Blight.
After a relentless touring cycle to support their 2007 eponymous album, Stephens and Vogel took an extended and much needed break; when they reconvened for The Bloom and the Blight, they hadn’t played a note together in three years.
The long gap inspired them to eschew their edgy acoustic Country/Folk murder/outlaw balladry in favor of a sound closer to their teenage Punk/Grunge roots while still maintaining an emotional connection to their Folk catalog.
It will be interesting to see if Two Gallants amps up the old songs to match the Greg Dulli-fronts-Pearl Jam fervor of The Bloom and the Blight, dial the new songs back to their typical acoustic setting or toggle between the two sonic approaches. It hardly matters; with brilliant songs across the board, Two Gallants will bang out a great show regardless of the presentation.
TWO GALLANTS performs Monday, Sept. 17 with Papa at MOTR Pub in Over-the-Rhine. Check out performance times and get venue details here.