The Civil Wars by The Civil Wars

The Civil Wars


After a two year hiatus, this contemporary duo consisting of Joy Williams and John Paul White are back with another record. Sadly, the music isn’t the only thing that’s heartbreaking this time. Rumour has it that their professional relationship has suffered irreversible damage and this may be the last time they work together, as reflected in this self-titled album.  Having set a standard for themselves with debut Barton Hollow, expectations were definitely high for this one going into it.


#1. The One That Got Away 3:30
#2. I Had Me a Girl 3:45
#3. Same Old Same Old 3:48
#4. Dust to Dust 3:49
#5. Eavesdrop 3:35
#6. Devil’s Backbone 2:29
#7. From This Valley 3:33
#8. Tell Mama 3:48
#9. Oh Henry 3:32
#10. Disarm 4:42
#11. Sacred Heart 3:19
#12. D’Arline 3:08


Joy Williams: Vocals, Piano, Hohner Organ, Bells
John Paul White: Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Resonator Guitar, Banjo, Bass


Charlie Peacock
Rick Rubin


6th August, 2013


The One That Got Away
From This Valley


For an album written and recorded written under such bitter conditions, The Civil Wars is an attempt to tune out reality. It’s essentially all-contemporary music, with the genres of indie-folk and country all woven together artistically. Adding more power to their acoustics, the album opens with The One That Got Away  a tumultuous ballad which was also the first single to be released. In an attempt to display less is indeed more, the heavy instrumentation overpowers the vocal chemistry shared between this pair. Overlooking that, the limited lyrics have as much impact as they did in Barton Hollow, and perhaps even a tad bit more.


Doing what they do best, they’ve stuck to composing heavy numbers but have tried to alleviate it with Joy’s light, flowing vocals, White’s lending a pleasing contrast and adding layers to the already deep songs on offer. Although it may be overwhelming initially, the melodies gradually lend a sense of familiarity. Just like in their debut, they’ve included covers this time as well. An unlikely choice, the personalized version of Disarm is effortlessly covered as a tribute to the Smashing Pumpkins. But self-composed D’Arline is one of the simplest yet most impressionable tracks. Recorded outside of a studio, it shows the minimalistic persona of the duo.


For a band who haven’t been around that long, The Civil Wars are trying hard to make their mark in the competitive music industry. With a debut album that is certified Gold in the US, they’re obviously getting there. Considering the controversies and setbacks experienced during the making of The Civil Wars though, it turned out to be a pleasant composition which leaves you wanting more.





One Response

  1. Nancy Mason says:

    please, I want more.

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