It’s very rare for me to listen to an artist and truly and undeniably believe that the music they create is not just music, but art in its truest and most innocent form. This most recently happened when I listened to The Civil Wars’ newest album that will be release August 6, but is streaming for free on iTunes now.
I fell in love with The Civil Wars right before their first album, Barton Hallow, was released. The connection between Joy Williams and John Paul White was infectious. The music they created had this authentic and raw feel that is so rare to hear in music these days. Their lyrics were real, the connected with any listener in whatever place they were.
Though I was incredibly sad to learn last year that they were taking a break, I was eager to hear their newest album to see how the discord between them would affect the art they create together. From my first listen to the album, the tension is there. You can hear it in “The One that Got Away,” the tug and pull of the lyrics, while not necessarily speaking directly of the tension between them, is driven by that same tension.
But this album, with its haunting lyrics and the breathtaking vocals, bears little resemblance to Barton Hallow, while still carrying the familiarity that listeners fell in love with in the first place. However, what I love most about this album, what struck me the most, is that even while the discord and tension between the duo was unresolved during the making of this album, it didn’t stop them from creating an intricate masterpiece.
I truly hope that the relationship between Joy Williams and John Paul White will mend and that one day I may be able to see them sing live. But for now, I will be content with their sophomore release. If you’ve never listened to The Civil Wars, I encourage you to do so. I promise you won’t be disappointed.