The Civil Wars are a “bare-bones” acoustic duo that emerged onto the Nashville music scene, and emerged with a storm. Their minimalist sound is so pure and conversational that is cannot be disturbed by a back-up band.
The Civil Wars is comprised of California native Joy Williams and John Paul White, who is from Alabama. Both musicians were originally solo artists but in 2008 they were set up on a “professional blind date” during a music writing camp. Once Joy Williams heard John Paul White singing she knew they should play together and in 2009 they decided to team up to create the folk duo. The instruments include the acoustic guitar played by Smith, the occasional piano by Williams and they both sing with their hauntingly beautiful, melodic voices. Although they aren’t a couple they have a compelling stage magnetism that appears like there’s something going on – it captivates the audience and gives the songs a much more believable appeal.
They performed their first show together as The Civil Wars at the French Quarter Café in Nashville only a few months after creating the duo. Luckily their future producer Charlie Peacock was in attendance for the show and definitely noticed the band. Their second show was at a club called Eddie’s Attic in Decatur, Georgia where they produced a crowd of roughly 100,000 people – approximately the same amount of downloads of their free digital album which is advertised on their website titled Live at Eddie’s Attic. Taylor Swift helped bring this band into the spotlight by tweeting how much she liked them. Their name, song downloads and video views skyrocketed from there.
The Civil Wars four track EP was released in 2009 and reached number 4 on the iTunes Singer/Songwriter Top Albums chart. The first single Poison & Wine was played on an episode of Grey’s Anatomy and the accompanying music video gained quick success with 740,000 views on YouTube within a short time period. Poison & Wine reached number 31 on the iTunes singer-songwriter chart. Their first full-length album is titled Barton Hollow and is comprised of 12 tracks. Recorded in Nashville and produced by Charlie Peacock it debuted at number 12 on the Billboard 200 and number 1 on the iTunes overall Albums chart. The band made their network television debut when performed their album’s title single Barton Hollow on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and that single has since reached number 1 on the iTunes singer-songwriter chart.
USA Today has said “together, John Paul White and Joy Williams are musical soul mates…with their playful banter and exquisite harmonies, they create music that is as haunting as a nocturne, soothing as a lullaby,” while the New York Post declares, “…a grand album with less. This indie-folk record is an acoustic study of love…”
Listen to their songs and learn more about the rising duo by searching their name on YouTube or by visiting their MySpace or personal website.