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The Civil Wars Import

4.6 out of 5 stars 118 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Import, 5 Aug 2013
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Product details

  • Audio CD (5 Aug. 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Columbia
  • ASIN: B00DBRT57S
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (118 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 15,329 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Digital Booklet: The Civil Wars
Digital Booklet: The Civil Wars
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Product description

Product Description

The Civil Wars’ sophomore self-titled album is the follow up to the three-time Grammy Award-winning duo’s acclaimed debut, Barton Hollow, which is now certified RIAA Gold in the U.S.. The Civil Wars was recorded in Nashville between August 2012 and January 2013 with Charlie Peacock once again at the helm as producer for the album. Additionally, Rick Rubin produced the duo’s performance for the track “I Had Me a Girl” in August of 2011. Peacock later completed the track by producing the instrumentation and mix.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
OK but not as good as their other CD
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Hard to hide genius and these two cannot hide their genius.....!
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Format: Audio CD
Second albums are a notoriously risky business; and not just for the band. Purchasing the successor to a much loved album is a bit like returning to the restaurant which had once served The Best Meal Ever. It can only disappoint. The butter is too cold, the room is too hot, the thrice-cooked chips are limp, the waiter is having a bad day, and the bill has shifted from extravagance to exploitation.

I love the Civil Wars' first album 'Barton Hollow'. I'd defy anyone to not like it. The lusciously yearning, intertwining vocal talents of Joy Williams and John Paul White soar over sparse raw acoustic instrumentation. The effect is at times heart-achingly beautiful, at times visceral: grabbing you by the innards and hurling you down to Nashville.

Simplicity is its strength. In many of the songs the only other voice is that of a steel string guitar. The recipe is perfect: it's a steaming great bucket of bitter-sweet, finger-pickin goodness.

So it was with some trepidation that I started listening to this new offering; longing for that perfect balance of 'the same' and 'different'. Some of 'the same' is here - soaring voices, acoustic guitar, brooding lyrics. But the 'different' is the wrong flavour of different. They add instruments, a precocious screeching electric guitar unnecessarily opening 'I had me a girl'. Even, unforgivably, a drum machine intruding on 'Dust to Dust'. It feels overproduced and loses intensity, creating a sense that more is sometimes less.

It's less consistent as an album too - more consciously playing with styles and ideas. On 'Sacred heart', Williams sings in French. Rather than accentuating her breathy come-hither vocals it tips into parody and just makes me giggle.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is OK. Its only OK. Barton Hollow was magnificent.

The Civil Wars are far greater than the sum of their parts. This album is made up of mainly decent songs sung by two individuals, sometimes at the same time. I wonder if they were even in the studio together much of the time. Barton Hollow on the other hand was two voices making sublime magic together.

Both are decent singers, but there are a thousand and one decent singers on the planet. The only worthwhile exception on this album, to my ear, is the haunting Disarm, which does sound like a proper duet.

I sincerely wish that Joy and John Paul gather their respective toys from outside the pram and go back to working together making wonderful music, rather than just cashing in on their previous efforts. Either that or decide they cannot work together and chuck the whole thing in.

If you looking for one Civil Wars album to buy, this isn't it. If you already have Barton Hollow, it may be better to remember them that way.
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By Sid Nuncius #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 8 Aug. 2013
Format: Audio CD
I agree with the favourable reviews already here - this is a very good album. I hadn't heard any of The Civil Wars' music until now and am very impressed.

There is a lot of quite-good-but-not-brilliant Country/Americana around, and this stands out from the crowd for two reasons, I think. The first is the quality of the songwriting. These are largely songs on the age-worn themes of love and loss, but they have an unusual lyrical depth and are musically very good with a great variety, singable melodies and, I suspect, a lasting quality.

The second reason is the exceptional quality of the singing. Both Joy Williams and John Paul White have very good voices which contrast rather and combine wonderfully. They can both really belt out a tune when needed, but also sing the quiet, tender passages with real feeling and exceptional skill. It reminded me slightly of the best moments of the Robert Plant/Alison Krauss collaboration. The production is admirably restrained and doesn't immerse the material in slick gloss, which allows the quality of the singers and their songs to really shine.

I'll be getting hold of Barton Hollow very soon on the strength of this. I warmly recommend this album - it's a bit of real class, I think.
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Format: Audio CD
It appears following the massive success of their debut "Barton Hollow" the Civil Wars decided to take their name at face value and commence an outbreak of raging hostilities. Their European tour was cancelled just about as they were to perform in Cardiff (the unused tickets are a souvenir) due to "internal discord and irreconcilable differences of ambition". Watch the video for the new single "The one that got away" and it clear that for Joy Williams and John Paul White the one place they don't want to be is with each other.

It is not essential of course that musicians like each other to make music. Fleetwood Mac, Oasis, Metallica and the Eagles are examples of bands in states of personal dysfunction that have made great records. But the Civil Wars persona went deeper, creating a stage act based on what appeared to be a platonic friendship that hinted at an even deeper chemistry. As it stands there is now no hiding from the fact that this new album is the musical equivalent of strained peace talks that have completely collapsed. What is the impact on the music?

"The Civil Wars" is a harder and darker album than its predecessor, although not a radical departure from that ethic. There were times on "Barton Hollow" that the sweetness threatened to engulf so this is not necessarily a bad thing. The album starts with the pounding "One who got away" a slice of almost Buckingham/Nicks drama underpinned by a telling story and ending with a fierce band work out. With Williams vocal dominating the lyrics tell it like is "Oh I wish I'D never seen your face/I wish you were the one/Wish you were the one who got away". Next up "I had a girl" is a piece of hard rocking swampy blues with White hinting a much tougher approach that could follow if solo status beckons.
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