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Introducing The Civil Wars

Kimberley Manderson


There’s a new bluesy American outfit in town. “So what?” you may say. Well these guys have been billed as Adele’s favourite band, so surely there must be something special about them? New two-piece The Civil Wars comprises of Joy Williams and her partner John Paul White. Both hail from the Southern states (Tennessee and Alabama), origins which seem to cement their haunting bluesy roots.  Their sound varies across the folk/blues/country genres, but it is their tight harmonies and chemistry that ultimately makes the music so enchanting.

Debut single Barton Hollow is out now and features melancholy riffs, harmonicas and soulful harmonies. What more could you ask for in a blues track? In the same vein as Scottish rockers Kassidy, The Civil Wars tracks are driven by the music. Be it stripped-back and acoustic, or with menacing guitars and throaty melodies, something about each song is moving. Everything is believable and honest, and it’s easy to get swept away in a daydream whilst listening. And their cover of Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean is fantastic.

The group’s debut album – also titled Barton Hollow – shot to number 1 in the iTunes chart in the US, and in addition to that had already sold 170,000 copies through touring and word of mouth alone. This year the duo played SXSW as one of their showcased artists, and supported Adele on her recent UK and US tours after she hailed them the “best live band [she had] ever seen”.  They are also up for two Americana Music Association awards and one Country Music Association award.

As for over in our neck of the woods, the Civil Wars will release Barton Hollow in early 2012 (although it’s readily available on iTunes now) and will return to London in March next year for their biggest set of headline shows so far. It’s worth catching them live if you can, as this pair actually live up to the hype.