Saturday, April 21 marked the fifth annual Record Store Day, an event celebrating independently owned record stores. Each year the event offers up special “event only” vinyl, CDs, and other auditory surprises. This weekend, your local old school record store was the place to be for those in search of sonic treasures.
One of 2011’s best Country albums came in the form of Barton Hollow, a stunning debut from Joy Williams and John Paul White, known collectively as, The Civil Wars. The duo had an impressive year, scoring Grammy wins for “Best Folk Album” and “Best Country Duo/Group Performance”.
The duo’s sweet vocal harmonies are a pure delight and as some of the most magical musical couplings occur, The Civil Wars came to be by sheer chance. The two were among a group of songwriters paired by blind luck to pen songs for new country act Gloriana at a Nashville writing session in 2008. The two immediately realized a chemistry of the most organic sort.
The duo recorded the EP Live at Eddie’s Attic in Decatur, Georgia in April 2009, and later released it as a free digital download through Sensibility Music; the label owned by Williams and husband Nate Yetton. The EP is still available for free on the duo’s website, and to date has been downloaded more than 200,000 times.
In November 2009, the pairing released the EP, Poison & Wine featuring two new tracks and two from the previous live EP, “Tip of My Tongue” and “Poison & Wine”. The latter song appeared on an episodes of Grey’s Anatomy and The Vampire Diaries.
In 2011, The Civil Wars became the talk of the industry with the release of Barton Hollow which earned the duo numerous nominations, much praise, and multiple awards. They also composed two tracks for The Hunger Games including the song “Safe & Sound” with Taylor Swift and T Bone Burnett.
As part of this year’s Record Store Day, which took place this weekend, the duo released the “event only” album, Live at Amoeba. Recorded at Amoeba Records in Los Angeles, the set features eight captivating songs which are soaked in the singers’ blend of sweet, haunting, melancholy harmonies and a charming amount of humor. The two even perform a gratifying rendition of Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” in their unique Americana style.
Among the hundreds of Record Store Day only releases, Live at Amoeba is among the tastiest finds.
If you are a fan of alternative country, acoustic, indy, folk, rock, soul, Americana, or simply sonic poetry, The Civil Wars, and Live at Amoeba should be in your record collection.