Most bands get their start by either working with another, more popular artist or band or relentlessly selling their music to anyone who will listen. Not all of today’s bands have to do that, though, including singer-songwriter duo The Civil Wars.
The two met in the music hub city of Nashville, Tenn., and released a live performance album and four-song EP before launching their premier album, “Barton Hollow,” in 2011. Even before they paired with Taylor Swift for her song “Safe and Sound,” the band, composed of Joy Williams and John Paul White, had already made quite a name for themselves in the music world, even going so far as to pick up a couple Grammy awards in 2012 for Best Country Duo/Group Performance and Best Folk Album.
The duo hail from two completely different parts of the country, but both cultures come together to make the sound of the music simple, sweet and perfectly balanced.
While their album is named after one of the songs on the record itself, “Barton Hollow” was actually not their first popular single. “Poison and Wine,” has been featured in Grey’s Anatomy, and two of their songs appeared in the recent film “The Hunger Games.”
With this clout following them around, it would seem like fame would follow the pair anywhere right now. But, sadly, that’s not in the books. In the middle of their European tour last month, the band announced on their Facebook that they were going to have to cancel their last shows due to irreconcilable differences between band members. A New York Times article said the band also said on the page that they were hoping to come back with new music for 2013.
I hope these rumors prove to be true, as I am an avid fan and love the bluesy, folk and country sound of the singers’ voices. I appreciate their minimal use of instruments and feel that adds to the duo’s sound. Every song sounds like it was performed live – even the accompaniment on the tracks is limited – so there is a pure, raw sound. The Civil Wars are definitely a group worth listening to, and hopefully, their differences can be reconciled, and they will return, full force, with new music next year.
Their album, “Barton Hollow,” is available now on hard copy, iTunes, and Amazon. Look for the band with Taylor Swift on “The Hunger Games” soundtrack, as well.