At the very beginning of the great and FREE album Live At Eddie’s Attic (free through their website or Noisetrade, I believe), John Paul White announces to the crowd: “If you’re not sad now, you’re gonna be.”
The vocally and visually stunning Joy Williams responds: ” Yeah, sorry about that…” and then giggles. I love her!
This really sums up a lot of the music of the now seemingly broken up folk/country/blusey/rockish group The Civil Wars. No one quite knows what is going on. They are both married to other people… so it is quite possible a love square developed… or just a business thing, which is what most of the press releases and reports would indicate. Their touring hiatus is officially blamed on “internal discord.” And yes, in this case it should be spelled “dischord.”
The only thing we know for sure is that the new album just came out, and the band is not together.
AllMusic encapsulates them as a “Nashville acoustic duo with folk songs, country ballads, and close harmonies.” I’d add in some blues and a bit of rock, which of course could include almost anything.
The Civil Wars – The Civil Wars
I am always a bit confused by eponymous, sophomore efforts. Is it because they forgot to name the first album after the band name? Why Bon Iver, why? For whatever reason, this album follows the most amazing debut, 2011’s Barton Hollow. Technically, 2009’s Live At Eddie’s Attic is the first official release, though it is not a studio album… obviously. Duh.
This one gets things going right away with the gut punch of “The One Who Got Away.” Ouch. Perfect twist of a title… and one cannot help but wonder if this is describing the relationship between Joy and John. Hmmm…
“Oh I wish I never
Ever seen your face
I wish you were the one
Wish you were the one that got away.”
I remember hearing Stevie Nicks talk about how utterly useless her affair with Mick Fleetwood was… a waste, she said… And while I do not wish pain on anyone, it was hardly useless, as it gave the world some pretty potent and amazing songs. Sorry, Stevie. You and Lindsey Buckingham did turn all that pain into musical gold.
The second track “I Had Me A Girl” would fit right in on a Black Keys record. A little more twangy perhaps, but there are blues and dirty garage rock in them thar hills!
Wikipedia reminded me that “The band won the Grammy Award for Best Country Duo/Group Performance and Best Folk Album in 2012.” And I still need to track down and listen to the soundtrack collaboration they did with T-Bone Burnett for the documentary A Place at the Table.
But for now, I have this record to hang with… and hanging with it, I am.
It’s funny… or not… but on the news a few weeks back they reported on a study that claimed that listening to sad music helps you get over your own sadness. Okay… Maybe… I listened the hell out of Tears For Fears’ 1983 debut The Hurting a lot… a real LOT! It got me through some high school and even college heartbreak… It is still my go to narcotic in certain, extreme emotional states.
And as I posted on Facebook the other day:
“For anyone who needs the emotional crap kicked out of them… to question love… and to realize that human beings can really mess with each other’s hearts… but in a good, melodic way… I highly recommend the new album by The Civil Wars.”