By Austin Metz
Editor in Chief
Sometimes more is not best. Why travel with a five-piece band when you can make the same sound with just two people?
That is the logic that has helped make The Civil Wars two-time Grammy winners.
Their first album, “Barton Hollow,” is based around this simplicity. Two talented musicians, Joy Williams and John Paul White, have teamed up to create one of the top country/folk albums of the year.
From the opening lyrics of “20 Years,” listeners can hear the simple guitar work and melting together of two clear, beautiful voices that serve as the base to the entire album.
The album’s third song, “C’est la mort,” opens with a simple piano solo that leads listeners into the lullaby-like song. The voices of Williams and White appear separately at different points of the album but it’s when they are together that the magic happens.
The most popular song on the album, “Poison and Wine,” is the pinnacle song on the album. From the opening guitar to the battle that lies within the lyrics, the song serves as the emotional peak between Williams and White.
As the song goes on tension builds. “Oh I don’t love you but I always will” they sing back and forth but the two seem to have it worked out by the end of the song. It’s playful and fun but it still makes listeners think.
The heaviest song on the album, the title track, “Barton Hollow,” has the driving guitar work that comes straight out of the Louisiana Bayou but is absent throughout the rest of the album.
The song shows that the band can do the whole rock’n’roll thing and it’s a nice change of pace from the rest of the album.
The musical talent of Williams and White is evident on each song but this isn’t about the instruments, its not about the musicians; the entire album is about the words and the bond formed between two people.
Each song seems to resemble a poem more than the lyrics to a song, and it truly is something beautiful to behold. Two musicians, molded together to form musical bliss.