The Civil Wars is a new duo featuring singer/guitarist John Paul White and singer/keyboardist, Joy Williams. He is from Alabama and she is from California and they debuted 2 years ago at a club called Eddie’s Attic in Atlanta, Georgia. Barton Hollow is their first full-length studio album and it’s a very impressive debut.
I was immediately charged by their sound, which is a delicate balance of
Pop music has always had male-female duos such as Ian & Sylvia and the more recent Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, aka The Swell Season. The dynamic usually works when the sexual chemistry of the couple is heard in the music. For Williams and White, who are married, but not to each other, that chemistry is remarkably strong. On the song “Poison and Wine,” first heard on their EP in 2009, we feel every yearning note as Williams and White trade alternate lines in the verses. It’s a song about a couple connected at the hip (for better or worse) as they sing in unison, “Oh, I don’t love you/ But I always will.” I’ve never heard a song about the rawness of love quite like this one. The performance is at once intimate and painful.