Poetic Memory: Adam Haworth Stephens (List)

If you’ve heard Two Gallants, then you know how Adam Haworth Stephens‘ voice can stick with you. The singer/songwriter’s distinctive delivery and poetic lyrics have helped make the San Francisco duo one of indie rock’s most compelling acts, and now he’s venturing off on his own.

Stephens’ solo debut, We Live on Cliffs, is set for a September release on Saddle Creek. You can download the album’s first single, “The Cities That You’ve Burned” (MP3), from his website.

To celebrate the impending arrival of We Live on Cliffs, Stephens is taking his pop-inspired alt-folk on the road. And because no self-respecting tour is complete without a stop in America’s Finest City™, he’ll be headlining at the Casbah on Sunday, August 15th. Proving that two great acts are always better than one, San Diego’s favorite songbird, the always-charming Miss Erika Davies, will be opening.

Two Gallants may be on hiatus, but Stephen’s gallantry is still going strong — the scruffy musician was kind enough to share some of his influences with us. You can read his Poetic Memory, along with the rest of his tour dates, below.

The Upsetters – Return of The Super Ape: When I was 14 one of my older brothers had this on cassette. I liked the cover (a giant Sasquatch-looking gorilla with a tree in one hand and a tree-sized joint in its other, wreaking havoc over civilization) so I stole it from him. For the next two years I listened to this and Master of Puppets on the bus practically everyday on my way to and from high school. This is Lee Perry at his finest.

W.H. Auden – “As I Walked Out One Morning”: “Oh let not time deceive you. You can not conquer time.” If this does not apply to you, please let the rest of us know.

John Phillips – John, the Wolf King of L.A.: Everyone is so quick to disregard this record because supposedly the guy slept with his daughter for ten years. Perhaps he did. I hope he didn’t, for her sake and his, but either way, I wouldn’t stop listening to this record. Vile people can still make amazing art and people need to learn to separate the two.

Jean Genet – Our Lady of the Flowers: Speaking of which, this book was written in prison on scraps of discarded paper…twice (the first version having been thrown away by a power-flexing prison guard). Once it finally leaked and was praised by Paris’ celebrated intellectuals, this semi-autobiographical novel lead to the author’s release from prison. The novel is only slightly more intense than the story of its creation: Parisian poverty, squalor, and homoeroticism in the 1930s, ridden and wrought with little non-sequitur daggers of beauty.

Leo Kottke – 6- & 12-String Guitar: I learned how to play guitar from John Fahey’s records and I know I am not alone in considering him one of the most significant influences in my life. Leo Kottke always seemed like a discounted version of Fahey so I never really gave him a
chance. That was an unfortunate mistake.

Adam Stephens tour dates:
Sat-Aug-07, Salt Lake City, UT, Kilby Court
Mon-Aug-09, Fargo, ND, The Aquarium
Tue-Aug-10, Iowa City, IA, Gabe’s Oasis*
Wed-Aug-11, Lincoln, NE, Bourbon Theatre*
Thu-Aug-12, Denver, CO, Ogden Theatre*
Sat-Aug-14, Tucson, AZ, Solar Culture
Sun- Aug-15, San Diego, CA, Casbah
Tue-Aug-17, Los Angeles, CA, Spaceland
Wed-Aug-18, Santa Cruz, CA, The Crepe Place
* = with Blitzen Trapper

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