Musicians tweeting about other musicians: That’s what kick-started The Civil Wars speedy rise to fame. Thanks to Taylor Swift, this duo witnessed the influence of social networking when their YouTube video for ‘Poison & Wine’ gained thousands of views literally overnight. And before that, Grey’s Anatomy gave them a bit of a nudge when the single accompanied a climactic montage during an episode of the sixth season. Their Google hits surged in a short span of time and word spread quickly of this dynamic duo. And it’s completely deserved. Joy Williams and music partner John Paul White, despite the contrast in their voices, compose a beautiful mesh of sound and lyricism that seems so genuine that it’s difficult to believe that they’re not romantically involved. The power behind both Williams’ and White’s voices is astounding. You nearly expect to sense a bit of a battling between their verses, but Williams’ airy and jazzy tone lifts up the heftier twang of White and the complement of their voices creates a sound that haunting yet strangely comforting. The Civil Wars abandons the extra frills and stands as a two-person band with a guitar and the occasional piano, leaving the magic to the honesty of their lyrics. They pull from past experiences in life and relationships when speaking through song, leaving behind the concern of offending. And that’s how music should be created: as an outlet for all things left unsaid. It’s the one form of art where you can lessen the blow of negative thoughts or bad news through singing. But that’s not to say you can’t feel the emotion behind what The Civil Wars reveals, because you most certainly can. It’s rare to find a duo with timing as spot-on as Williams and White. It’s no surprise that the otherwise folky, mountain-country style of this band has leaked into the playlists of varied music fans across the board. Musical chemistry like this simply can’t be ignored.
The Civil Wars plays at 3:15 pm on the Sasquatch stage on Saturday, May 26.