The Civil Wars – Barton Hollow
This Nashville based acoustic duo consists of Joy Williams and John Paul White, singer-songwriters who first met at a songwriting session at a music studio. Steadily building a fan base solely through word of mouth by musicians including Adele and Taylor Swift, their rise prominence has now lead to the release of their debut album Barton Hollow in the UK. They are now also opening on tour for Adele in the UK as well as the United States.
The duo recently picked up Grammys for Best Country Duo/Group Performance and Best Folk Album, Barton Hollow truly reflects the accolades it has been getting since released in the US last year. Haunting, shadowy and touching, this album will leave you feeling content but also reflective.
The opening track 20 Years provides a light, strumming indication to how the rest of the album will be like. The harmonies envelope each other while we are still being able to hear the distinctive sounds of both vocals. The album neither disrupts nor invades the listener; it accompanies. Some outstanding tracks include Poison & Wine, in which the build-up to the soaring chorus fits perfectly with the whispering gentleness of the verses before. If yearning could be musically translated, this song would be it. The heavy harmonies and prominent acoustic guitar get a little weary and heavy, but if the live reviews are anything to go by, these are the very reasons that make the live performances brilliant. While the tracks may get a little similar to the title track, suffice to say that it more than well makes up for the lack of variety. Thumping and bluesy, it is the perfect sound to accompany their joint soaring voices in the chorus.
I’ve Got This Friend and their cover of Leonard Cohen’s Dance Me Till the End of Love is addictive, the vocals slightly drawn out to create a sweet, heavy sound. The songs begin and end seamlessly into each other, making this a generally captivating album all around.
Barton Hollow is released on 2nd March 2012.
Watch the video for Poison & Wine here: