Adam Haworth Stephens – We Live On Cliffs

January 01, 1970

(Saddle Creek)

www.saddle-creek.com

 

Adam Stephen’s switch to a solo tack following his pairing
in Two Gallants doesn’t make for a drastic divergence in style or content. And
yet, given the ragged lo-fi musings generally associated with the San Francisco duo,
Stephens’ individual initiative sounds a lot more polished by comparison. With
a yearning wail of a vocal that frequently recalls the plaintive moan of, say,
Steve Forbert, Stephens’ sound betrays an ache and remorse that are palpable despite
the fact they manage to reside well below the surface.

 

The fact is, Stephens’ subtlety is his strong suit
throughout. The evocative “Heights of Diamond” and the teeming “The Cities That
You’ve Burned” begin on shaky footing, but gradually build into something more
sweeping and dramatic. Even so, the gravitas inherent in these offerings rarely
subsides; the tangled threads of “Second Mind,” a tenuous “With Vengeance Come”
and the mellow yet mournful drift of “Southern Lights” each attest to Stephens’
plaintive posture. Fortunately his moods and melodies mesh ideally, so that
ultimately We Live On Cliffs isn’t as
precarious as those scenarios might otherwise suggest.

 

DOWNLOAD: “Heights
of Diamond,” “Southern Lights” LEE ZIMMERMAN

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