I must admit, The Civil Wars album Barton Hollow snuck up on me.
I saw it arrive in the mail and, after a quick listen, I set it aside. A few days later, a Nashville friend of mine asked if I’d heard the album. I told her I gave it a casual listen and it didn’t captivate me.
She gave me a grave look and said, “No. Listen again.” The look in her eye told me I’d missed something.
She was right. After listening again, I immediately put several songs into heavy rotation on KCRW’s 24/7 music stream Eclectic24, and Ariana Morgenstern tapped the band for Today’s Top Tune. I also encouraged Lucy Schwartz, an artist I co-manage, to open for them if at all possible. I subsequently booked the band to headline School Night, my weekly club night in Hollywood that showcases live performances from new artists (that’s when i really fell in love with them).
Stream “Poison & Wine”:[audio:http://blogs.kcrw.com/musicnews/audio/PoisonandWine.mp3]
Joy Williams and John Paul White are living breathing contradictions.
First, they have undeniable chemistry, yet they are married to other people.
Secondly, they each have formidable solo careers, but none as successful as the one they’ve just created together. Together, they are truly greater than the sum of their parts.
This past week they released Barton Hollow on iTunes for a very fair $7.99. super smart of them. The debut album has sat atop the album charts since release day, and their first tour together since the album dropped has been sold out every night across the Southeast (and yes, Lucy is the opener).
The Civil Wars are a bonafide phenomenon.
Why? Good question. The answer may lay in the very reason i initially passed over them.
They demand an open heart, a moment of pause, a second look. Yes, that’s asking a lot of a listener. What these two do isn’t new. It isn’t changing the game.
It’s an old formula: write some very special songs and perform them well. But for those that give them a chance, the rewards are numerous.
— Chris Douridas
On the last night of tour with The Civil Wars, Lucy Schwartz, Joy Williams & John Paul White (The Civil Wars) rehearse Lucy’s song “Gone Away” backstage at Jammin’ Java in Vienna, VA (Washington DC area). Shot on an iPhone 4 with the 8mm Vintage Camera app.