The Civil Wars Self-Titled CD – Album Review
If you're one of those people who wishes today's country music was more dynamic and provided more depth, The Civil Wars have an answer to that. The duo of Joy Williams and John Paul White that abruptly stopped touring a year ago, apparently reunited just long enough to release a new, self-titled CD that is filled with tension, beautiful flowing lyrics and dark undertones.
For commercial consideration, the first two tracks have the best chance of getting to the ears of casual music fans. 'The One That Got Away' was actually released as a single, and opens The Civil Wars' latest effort. The melancholy message delivered by Williams and White sets the tone for the entire album. This powerful song about regret builds up and explodes with emotion.
'I Had Me a Girl' shares opposing points of view of a past-tense relationship filled with imperfection and doubt, yet fuel to justify the reason for it ever happening.
There's a beautiful gospel song, 'From This Valley' included. There is also a cover of 'Disarm', originally done in the 90's by the rock band Smashing Pumpkins, and a remake of Etta James' 'Tell Mama', both of which are very different from the originals. In my opinion, that's the way a remade song should be, otherwise I'll just listen to the original.
There is so much conflict felt in each song on this album. Some say the tone of this CD is based on any real-life unraveling of the working relationship between Williams and White. Others say it's an artistic creation, much like the content of their 2011 'Barton Hollow'. I don't care to dig that deep. It's a wonderful collection of songs, no matter how they were conceived. This is a lyric-driven album, complimented by the fantastic vocal performances by both Williams and White, and equally great musical accompaniment, and I'm going to leave it at that.
The lack of easy hooks and catchy lines makes me realize that the bulk of this CD may be more fitting for critics, fellow musicians and awards shows than country radio or other commercial outlets. But make no mistake about it, the self-titled CD from The Civil Wars is an exceptional album of music. You don't need to be a fan of this brand of music to appreciate the artistic quality this album possesses.