October 2013 National Music Reviews

Review: The Civil Wars – Self-Titled

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The Civil Wars
Columbia Records
Street: 08.06
The Civil Wars = Alison Krauss + Johnny Cash (the Rick Rubin years) + Del McCoury
The Civil Wars have been the breath of fresh air country music dreadfully needed. Their dark approach has captured a wide audience, garnering awards and album sales of the highest order. While they have taken Nashville by storm, it’s amazing to me the thin line they’ve been able to walk between alternative country and mainstream country. Unfortunately, even faster than they seemed to take over country music, they are now leaving—at least as The Civil Wars. Now I believe that the door is wide open for the two members to reunite down the road, but as their swan song, for now, they’ve produced a haunting and beautiful record full of shadowy, folk-tinged country with some rock thrown in for a little edge. Joy Williams’ vocals are spot on and ripe for some obvious solo efforts to come, but I would be lying if I didn’t say without John Paul White, these songs would have half as much spirit. It’s hard to say if this is truly the last chapter of The Civil Wars, but if it is, they’ve done an impeccable job of creating a record to go out on. –James Orme