The Nashville-based band A Tale of Two is a juxtaposition of glamour and grit. Dressed in pearls and pinstripes as though they’ve just stepped out of a 1930s mobster movie, the duo creates haunting vocal harmonies and driving, guitar-based grooves that take the listener on a winding journey through the stories and soulful sounds of a bygone era.
“Growing up, we both were surrounded by folklore and history,” guitarist Aaron Lessard said. “We were always fascinated by the people, culture and especially dark tales. It has definitely shaped who we are.”
When Lessard met award-winning vocalist Stephanie Adlington in the Nashville jazz scene, he immediately recognized a special artistic chemistry between them, and they began performing and writing together, eventually forming A Tale of Two.
Their infectious stage presence and chemistry carry beyond the music to their banter between songs, making it clear that this genuine pair of fun-loving storytellers clearly enjoy playing and singing together.
As they searched to find their own sound, they looked to the past for inspiration that they could weave into something novel and original.
“We dove deep in our roots to grab the best elements of our favorite artists,” Lessard said. “Great artists like John Paul White, Patty Griffin, Tom Waits, Ray LaMontagne and Punch Brothers.”
The key ingredient wrapping everything together is a Southern gothic flair.
“I love to bring a Southern gothic inspiration to the table, and try to showcase that with vocal finesse,” Adlington said.
Southern gothic music – also known as dark country or gothic Americana – has links to the subgenre of gothic fiction in American literature that takes place in the American South. Adlington and Lessard combine a deep love of drama and evocation with the best of Americana and blues melodies, so Southern gothic was a natural fit for their tales of death, ghosts, lost love, murder, the devil and betrayal.
Now A Tale of Two will bring its eclectic performance stylings to Door County for four concerts in July and – for these concerts – will become a tale of three by adding Kyle Pudenz on fiddle and mandolin. Audiences can expect a showcase of memorable storytelling, vocal harmonies, slide resonator guitar and a suitcase drum: a suitcase with a tambourine and pedals attached that you play with your feet while standing.
“Our 1930s drum suitcase is the perfect touring musician,” Adlington said. “He plays for free and never complains. Folks will have many opportunities to see Aaron Lessard singing, playing guitar and tapping away on the drum all at the same time!”
A Tale of Two launches our new music series, Peninsula Pulse Presents, through which we will bring national touring acts from outside the county to entertain residents and summer visitors. Don’t miss these A Tale of Two performances: Friday, July 16, Baileys Harbor Concerts in the Park at the town hall; Saturday, July 17, Door Community Auditorium, 3926 Hwy 42 in Fish Creek; Sunday, July 18, vocal workshop, Door Community Auditorium; and Sunday, July 18, The Garage at Husby’s, 10641 N. Bay Shore Dr. in Sister Bay.