Look what I can do with a little more time — specialized album covers. Can’t deny the billowing smoke. The vintage smoke makes it even more haunting. By the time you hit ‘D’Arline’ it will all make sense. For your emotions will be taking on a hell of a ride. You’ll hear explosions…popping in the distance against an empty sky. Are they mighty battleships sinking into gasoline soaked water? Southern mansions being consumed from within? Metal bridges bent & disfigured by a raging battle? Bodies sweetly scattered. For…
“It was not well to drive men into final corners; at those moments they could all develop teeth and claws.”
- Stephen Crane, The Red Badge of Courage
This indie folk rock self-titled compilation by the now separated Joy Williams & John Paul White has created such a buzz online because of the drama hiding in the shadows. Only they know what truly happened that caused this ‘War’. Us listeners can assume whatever we want. I have my opinion as well as you probably do. But my audience for this post isn’t the hardcore, somber, Civil Wars fan who has obsessed over each & every subtextual powerful lyric. Joy has released some of that background over on their webpage if you haven’t heard hardcore fans. Recommend it. I’m here to convince the other majority that what you have beating in your ears is one of the heartbreaking records you can possibly listen to.
The Civil Wars 2013 record is a career wrap up, up to this point, laced with such troubling & heartbreaking subject matters. Dark in tone. Electric rifts. Thunder. Smoke. You get nine new brand new cuts & three concert favorites (From This Valley, Oh Henry, & Their Smashing Pumpkins’ cover — Disarm). Joy, like with the Album’s PR, is the most powerful voice on the record. John Paul mostly provides a hush behind her lead. He does has his moments. Still pales in comparisons to her. It feels like Joy Williams (feat. John Paul White) because no matter who starts the track…Joy will be the one finishing it. You can tell they are no longer equally sharing. ‘Barton Hollow”s magic came from how in-sync they were. The passion was there. It made each track fresh & fun. Just blended into sheer beauty. The times the duo do connect (Eavesdrop, Same Old Same Old, & Dust To Dust) you feel so torn because there is such raw, visceral emotion, behind every line. No, there is nothing you can do. Just sit in your seat & take it. Box of Kleenex provided under your seat.
What gives me chills is imagining their eyes locking as they sing all those tracks. Woah. Souls connecting in music bliss. Always picture two magnets being pushed together in that scenario. Strength that makes my soul ache. Especially the pure french Sacred Heart, conceived & executed in Paris on tour. Doesn’t it make you wish you were in Paris? Go check out the translation. Very “Before Sunrise”. Most of the happy stuff was written before Barton Hollow even came out. By the end the sun comes up…or goes down, however your opinion is.
Their iPhone recorded demo entitled “D’Arline”, final track, is quite poetic. I’ll always remember them like that. Sitting on the porch, adapting a love letter of a man who misses his wife, into pure musical magic.
Not all relationships are perfect. Joy & JPW are like every artist trying to create revolutionary music. The Beatles fought, so what. Abbey Road is my favorite Beatles’ album. (you can fight me later) We owe a huge thanks to Charlie Peacock. He made this record what it was: a true successor to my favorite album of 2011. The Yang to Barton Hollow’s Ying. They do complete & complement each other perfectly. Two sides of a coin.
Us fans got the sequel we wanted that finally wrapped up the The Civil Wars saga quite beautifully. This self-titled record speaks for itself. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel. Given. Lightning isn’t suppose to strike the same place twice. The electricity does get close.
A love prepared to destroy the worlds…but that what loves does. Such a powerful feeling.
Truly enjoy this haunting beautiful second chapter of The Civil Wars story that puts to the period to journey so far. I’ll shut up till Christmas about this record. Coming up after is the “Vh1′s Behind The Music” special.