Saturday, April 9, 2011

Spotlight of the week: The Civil Wars

The Civil Wars are a band I just came across this past week, so they're perfect for a Spotlight. A collaboration between singer/songwriters John Paul White and Joy Williams, the duo's indie/folk/blues sound grabbed me right off. Though not a romantic couple (both are married), their voices intertwine in a way rarely seen outside of siblings or longtime partners. The way they sing over and under and alongside each other weaves a stunning web of vocal harmonies and Southern Gothic atmosphere. Generally just White's guitar, with occasional accompaniment from Williams' piano, the group keeps a down home vibe that conjures up images of late night living room jam sessions, or lonely field recordings.

I've found wonderful videos on YouTube of the group performing covers of songs like Michael Jackon's "Billie Jean" Leonard Cohen's "Dance Me to the End of Love" and The Smashing Pumpkins' "Disarm" (when Williams says "you might recognize this one", White counters with "and if not, then we wrote it"). They show they have a rare musical connection and a sense of humor as well as some varied tastes. All of that just makes me want to see more from them. They'll definitely be a group I'll follow for years to come.

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