Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Civil Wars.

Barton Hollow is the debut full length album from The Civil Wars, a new band formed by singers/songwriters Joy Williams and John Paul White. This album, from start to finish, is a musical triumph. Barton Hollow could be classified as country, but it's so much more than that. It's Americana. It's the kind of music that leaves a heritage. I believe that this is one of those albums, that will be remembered, for many, many years.

It will have a place in my top 10 for 2011. I've listened several times, and although the album as a whole presents itself so strongly, a few of the 14 tracks have really stood out to me.

Here are my favorites so far:

+ 20 years [track 1] - "There's a note, underneath your front door, that I wrote 20 years ago. Yellow paper, and a faded picture, and a secret in an envelope." The imagery in this song, infused with banjo and a haunting melody, creates a stirring scene in my mind.

+ C'est la Mort [track 3] - "C'est la vie, c'est la mort" That's life, that's death. A pleading love ballad that is so beautiful. I'm sure when the blessed day arrives for me to hear The Civil Wars perform this live, I'll be in tears.

+ Barton Hollow [track 7] - When I saw them perform this live on a late night show a couple of weeks ago, I think my jaw was on the floor. Such impressive stage presence. Joy captivated me. John intrigued me. I am waiting on pins and needles to see if their tour will lead them up to the Northwest again, or if I will have to travel somewhere else to see them.

+ Girl With the Red Balloon [track 9] - a sorrowful and intoxicating story of lost love about a woman who is "always and never alone." The Civil Wars hook you with their story telling, and then finish you with their harmonizing. Their songwriting is crafted with supreme precision:

"Keep her glass full of cheap champagne
She will tell of a man with no name
Smoke and mirrors have done her in
She's in love and she won't be again

, did she let him go 
or did the four winds blow him away
Oh, does she even know
She's the girl with the red balloon"

If you were to only spend $7.99 on music in 2011,
I would recommend spending it on this album.

Get it from AmazonMP3
Get it from iTunes