Sound — 10
Country/Folk/Alternative duo The Civil Wars feature two talented musicians, John Paul White and Joy Williams, who have created, in my opinion, the most dazzling album I have heard in a long time. Their simplicity only involving a guitar and flawless harmonies, although there is the occasional piano or violin, shows precisely what the music industry should and can be- people with real musical talent showing off their capability. It is no wonder these two have won 2 Grammys already. As Joy says, "We met in 2008 at what, in Nashville, is known as a 'writing camp', a gathering of songwriters for the purpose of writing radio singles for a band that didn't even have a name at that point. I thought it was going to be a waste of time, but my publisher wanted me to go, so I said OK. It was literally a drawing of straws to see which songwriters would be put into which room together, and by the time I got there the straws had been drawn. I was like, 'OK, I'm going into this room with somebody named John Paul White.' I had no idea what I was walking in to. After about half an hour of getting-to-know-yous, he started plucking at the guitar. In Nashville, it's not uncommon to harmonise with someone but what was strange was that when he started singing it was like I knew where he was going to go before he went there it tightened my stomach and made me pay attention."
Lyrics — 10
The lyrics are simple at times yet tell their stories well. A wide use of metaphors and subtlety makes the songs not as obvious as many people these days are used to- a welcome change in my opinion! At times they tell two sides of a story. As in "Poison & Wine" - they allow you to hear both views surrounding their issues. Some songs involve less truth and more fantasy. "Barton Hollow", a song about being on the run from the law after committing a murder, is less then a true story but is still an amazing song which would suit a chase sequence in a movie, in my opinion. That being said, other songs are incredibly honest and from the heart. "Falling", the first song they wrote together, is packed full of sadness and truth. The lyrics "I can't help falling out of love with you" cut straight to the bone and send chills down my spine. Nothing can compare with these honest, deep yet simple lyrics.
Overall Impression — 10
In my short time on this earth I have not heard anything like The Civil Wars. They are nothing like the cookie-cutter pop princes and princesses who currently swan the charts. The are as good, if not better live. They are true musicians who deserve every bit of recognition they can get. For me the best songs on the album are: "Poison & Wine", "Barton Hollow", "Falling" and "My Father's Father". They vary in tempo, and subject matter but somehow all the tracks blend together perfectly to form what I see as a flawless album. One disappointment I had was when the international version came out featuring new songs but I could not buy it being in a different country. I guess this isn't much of a criticism being that it is complaining that I cannot get more songs of theirs but it is all I can come up with. Also, The Civil Wars do manage to keep me happy with my desire for more new material by uploading their perfect covers of songs recorded during their tours. Songs like "Between The Bars" and "Disarm" are as good if not better then the original and do the artists complete justice. Yes, I rated it 10/10 for everything because the only fault I could find was them not having more material!