Barton Hollow [VINYL] Import
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Forget Me Not
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In February 2012, The Civil Wars – duo Joy Williams and John Paul White – won two Grammy Awards: Best Folk Album for their debut album, Barton Hollow, and Best Country Duo/Group Performance for its title-track. It’s easy to hear why. Originally released in the States last year, said record’s love-torn, life-worn songs have finally dragged their weary, tired bones across the Atlantic just in time to soundtrack the onset of spring – or, rather, the end of winter. Because, in these original songs – and even in a bonus track, a quirky yet elegiac take on Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean – there’s a both a sense of finality and new beginnings, the ebb and flow of life and love.
Much of this is down to the interplay between Williams’ and White’s vocals – soft, dulcet, tentative whispers of musical conversation that, alone, sound scared and vulnerable but, when they sing together, are stronger and more powerful. Nowhere is this more evident than on the record’s highlight and centrepiece, Poison & Wine, a plaintive, forlorn swirl of conflicting emotions. "I don’t love you," the pair sing in unison on its searching, wistful chorus, "but I always will" – and immediately that paradox comes alive through the aching, trembling, brittle frame of the song and the defiance of its lyrics and vocal delivery. 20 Years is an equally stirring and haunting tribute to the past that cuts heart strings with each pluck of the guitar, while the gentle, stirring chug of C’est La Mort drifts like ashes scattered onto a river.
It’s not all tears and tragedy, though – the country jangle of the title-track, the neo-classical instrumental of The Violet Hour and the sparse waltz of Falling all add texture to the duo’s takes on that ageless, ever-inspiring theme of love. A timeless, anachronistic record, Barton Hollow could be from 30 years ago, or it could be from 30 years hence. What’s certain, though, is that you truly feel it in the here and now.
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Top Customer Reviews
At the heart of "Barton Hollow" is the songwriting and none is finer that the brilliant alt-country ballad "Poison and Wine" possibly the finest song I have heard this year and one you should send out a search party to locate. It builds slowly and deliberately and the vocals of White, in particular, resonate with emotion, building to a lovely climax. Opener "20 years" harks bark to that great forgotten American duo the Swell Season and is a heartbreaking country lament destined to take Nashville by storm. It is a song that Emmylou Harris should record immediately.Read more ›
One of the reviewers here really wasn't impressed by 'I've got this friend' and I find that perplexing, wonder if they were listening to the same song as me. I find a load of English music to be horribly over-produced and it's refreshing to hear such under-stated simple elegance in any music. Still it takes all sorts; some people listen to Radio 1, which totally mystifies me.
If you go to the American version of Amazon you can listen to clips of all the tracks - worth a visit if you're not sure.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
One of my favourite CD's. What a duet, pity they are no longer performing togetherPublished 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
Beautiful harmony of two voices and the lyrics deep and serious. What a shame that they don't sing together anymore.Published 4 months ago by Maya
too much of the same thing - very dirgy. not for me, i'm afraid, and i have a very broad taste in recorded music.Published 8 months ago by bigpicture