Have you ever listened to an album, and wanted to give a standing ovation at the end? Well, I’ve listened to The Civil War’s Barton Hollow quite a few times, and it’s made me want to give a rousing standing O after every listen. As a matter of fact, I’m going to take a writing break for a moment and give that standing O. (Yes. I did it.)
The duo of Joy Williams and John Paul White have created a chillingly beautiful album through a vocally dominant approach with sparse instrumentation. This sparseness can easily expose vocal weaknesses within a recording, but Joy and John have none. Male/female duos are in no shortage on the music scene, but there are few that can pull off the true beauty of this “indie folk” recording. One of the last bands to capture this feeling was The Swell Season, yet I feel that The Civil War does it even better. What “it” is, I can’t quite put my proverbial finger on it, but “it” is certainly there in grand fashion.
TCW not only tugs on your heart strings, they also break out some rousing tracks which can get a crowd singing along with them (like the title track, Barton Hollow). I can’t say enough good things about this album, nor can I attempt to capture the alluring, angelic, and enchanting qualities that Barton Hollow possesses.
Go have yourself a listen to Barton Hollow. You’ll be glad that you did. As of August 1, 2011, The Civil Wars is one of my top 3 choices for Best New Band, as well as an Album of the Year candidate.
Key Tracks: Barton Hollow, Poison & Wine, I’ve Got This Friend