From This Valley

I drive an average of forty-five miles a day, much less at weekends when I like to stay home and unwind after a busy week! I don’t like driving in silence; listening to the radio or to a good CD makes the time pass much quicker. The CD which has been in my car stereo on repeat for the past few months is the self-titled second album by The Civil Wars, the singer-songwriter duo of Joy Williams and John Paul White. I have mentioned them before on Cultural Life because I absolutely adore their music. They have a wonderful creative chemistry. When I first heard about them and saw videos of their live performances on YouTube, I assumed they were a couple (they’re not) because the atmosphere between them when they performed was so powerful.

The unique blend of different influences – country, alt/indie, Americana – combined with wonderful song lyrics and talented harmonies is a compelling mix. Unfortunately for me and many other fans of their work, they split up in 2012, citing “internal discord and irreconcilable differences of ambition”. I hope they will one day, perhaps, find a way to reconcile the issues which caused the break-up. I would love to see them release a third album.

Here they are performing the Grammy award-winning song, From This Valley, live in New Orleans. I love listening to this positive, upbeat song!

Do you like The Civil Wars? Can you recommend me some similar bands/singers which I would also enjoy?

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New music from The Civil Wars

The Nashville duo, The Civil Wars, released their second album this week. I first found out about The Civil Wars thanks to a song on The Hunger Games soundtrack which I heard in December 2011. I bought their d├ębut album, Barton Hollow, and for most of last spring I played it on repeat on my iPod. The music, sung by Joy Williams and John Paul White, is haunting and melodic. Joy Williams’s voice is astoundingly beautiful combined with the raw simplicity of acoustic guitar. From melancholy ballads to foot-tapping melodies, each song tells a story, combining rootsy Americana, bluegrass and country in a captivating blend.

I would love to see them play live but unfortunately last year they cancelled tour dates on their European tour, giving “irreconcilable differences” as the reason. I hope they don’t stop producing music together. It is unclear whether they will tour again or release another album. It is a real shame as they are definitely one of the most talented Americana/country duos around at the moment. Let’s hope they manage to resolve the problems.

This song from their latest album left me with goosebumps. Go have a listen!

(Video linked from The Civil Wars Youtube channel. No copyright infringement is intended. All rights belong to their respective owners)

If you enjoyed hearing this, I also recommend “20 Years” and “Barton Hollow” from their first album.

For more about The Civil Wars with music videos and other info, you can visit their official website: The Civil Wars and follow them on Twitter @thecivilwars

What do you think of The Civil Wars’ music? If you have any recommendations for other Americana and country artists, let me know by leaving a comment on this post. I would love to hear them!