Wednesday, Dec. 07, 2011

Civil Wars, Barton Hollow

Joy Williams and John Paul White are made for each other — or at least, their voices are. On their debut album, the Nashville songwriters meld their vocals together — in songs that are mostly about how terrifying love can be or how difficult it is to escape one's past — to create bold harmonies that are so attention grabbing, you don't even initially notice that their only accompaniment is an acoustic guitar (or sometimes a piano). References to burning coal, preachers and winding roads, combined with the songwriters' penchant for dropping their gs at the end of words, create idealized, dreamy visions of a rural South that you intuitively recognize, even if you've never been there. Barton Hollow is just the first act in what promises to be a long and fruitful career.