The Civil Wars || The Civil Wars

Here's what you do. Go buy the best pair of headphones you can find. Not earbuds - not even those fancy-schmancy Sennheisers - get a good set of over-the-ear cans, although noise-canceling on-the-ear phones will also work. Set aside a couple of hours, and find a comfortable chair. Then go to the iTunes Store and download The Civil Wars, the recently-released eponymous album by the duo of Joy Williams and John Paul White. Plug in the headphones to your music-generating device, set on album-repeat, and be ye transported.

I don't know what genre The Civil Wars belong in. The iTunes Store labels the duo as "alternative," meaning that they also don't know how to classify them. They performed at the Grand Old Opry; does that make them country? They won a Grammy for the Best Folk Album, so perhaps that's where they belong. They sang Michael Jackson's Billie Jean on a VH-1 TV special; perhaps they're a pop group.

Frankly, it doesn't matter. Their ethereal harmonies and understated arrangements (produced by the amazing Charlie Peacock) demand your undivided attention (hence the headphone recommendation) and reward the diligent listener with an emotional roller-coaster of beautiful melodies and grown-up lyrics. If this is indeed country music, it's the Anti-Nashville version at its best, with nary a hint of ripped jeans, party-on-a-tailgate-by-the-creek, hot-southern-girls-and-cold-Texas-beer. And that's an extremely soothing thing.

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This page contains a single entry by Eric published on September 1, 2013 6:30 PM.

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