The Civil Wars is one of those bands I kept hearing about over and over again, but I was too lazy to give them a try, and I didn't feel like listening to new songs yet.
Last week, however, I finally went to their website because their name was just itching in the back of my head.
And what's cool is that they offered a free album on their website. So I grabbed it, and started listening...and I was just blown away. I haven't heard such great music in some time. Great music with real artistic passion behind it. For my taste, great music is (a) lyrics, (b) vocals and (c) music -- in that order. It's not a great song unless its lyrics are beautifully written. (Same idea with movies: plot over pop).
They are a duo: Joy Williams from California, and John Paul White from Alabama. And their music collabration reflects that geographical difference: Joy from a pop background, and John Paul from retro-country, folk music. The music is raw, and simple: mostly guitar and vocals. Their theme is about the blessings and the frustrations of being in a relationship, epitomized in their most popular song:
"Poison & Wine" isn't just The Civil Wars' breakout song. It's also a thematic declaration of intent for this utterly complementary odd couple, encapsulating everything suggested in the duo's name when it comes to exploring the conflicts that arise as part of couplehood.
And to top it all off, even Taylor Swift loves them! She named "Best Country Duo" in the Rolling Stones:
I've loved John Paul White and Joy Williams as solo artists for years. The fact that they've combined their powers as a duo in the Civil Wars makes them even more awesome. The song "Poison & Wine," from their album Barton Hollow, is a must-have for anyone who has ever experienced any kind of love at all.
Grab their free album and listen yourself.