Country back in vogue with Civil Wars latest

Country back in vogue with Civil Wars latest

Joy Williams and John Paul paired up to release “Barton Hollow” this spring.

Mikayla Coulombe, staff writer

After meeting each other at a writer’s camp in 2008, California native Joy Williams and Nashville’s own John Paul White teamed up on a whim and developed an unabashedly beautiful and painfully raw debut album, “Barton Hollow.”

Stripped down to nothing but the basic acoustics, “Barton Hollow” includes no extra unnecessary noise to distract from the duo’s flawless and haunting vocals. In fact, Williams and White’s harmonies drive the whole album, drawing comparisons to and even rivaling bands like The Swell Season and Lady Antebellum.

Dubbed as a folk-country duo on their official website, I, having strategically avoided every cheesy lyric and every vocal twang of country music throughout my lifetime, was skeptical at first about listening to the Civil Wars. However, I found myself pleasantly surprised.

Instead of the “yee-hawing,” deep voiced, heartache fest that embodies country music, The Civil Wars provide a pure chilling harmony. As the album progresses, every song sounds less and less like a typical country ballad, until the duo has created a sound completely of their own.

Although spans of some typical country sounding melodies can be heard throughout the album—“Barton Hallow,” “I’ve Got This Friend,” and “Forget Me Not,” probably the three most country orientated songs—The Civil Wars’ album achieves the difficult task of appealing to a variety of music lovers.

Other songs like “The Violet Hour”—an instrumental piano/guitar piece—and “C’est la mort”—a French inspired ballad, shows the band’s diversity. Their simple and blunt lyrics also add to their allure, mastering the art of saying “I love you” without sounding corny and dull.