If you haven’t been listening to The Civil Wars, the male-female duo with a penchant for plaintive love songs and folksy Americana melodies, consider this a friendly Music Mix advisory that you need to start.
Thankfully, the band is making this easy for you, as they’ll be heading out on a just-announced U.S. tour in the fall, capping off what has been a terrific year for the band.
The pair released their first LP, Barton Hollow, in February, and on the strength of singles “Poison and Wine” and “Barton Hollow,” the disc has quietly sold over 150,000 over the past six months. In March, they were named one of VH1’s “You Oughta Know” artists, and in May, they were chosen to open for Adele during select dates on her tour. (In June, they got a shout-out in our Singles Swap, too.)
They were also recently nominated by the Americana Music Awards as Duo/Group of the Year alongside The Avett Brothers, Mumford and Sons, and Robert Plant and the Band of Joy (Wow, that category pretty much encapsulates my taste in music).
Last week, I had the chance to see the duo play an acoustic set in New York’s Housing Works Bookstore Café, and I was floored. Joy Williams and John Paul White aren’t a couple, but they sing with all the intimacy and nuance of spouses who have known each other deeply for decades.
Their complex harmonies are rock-solid, and their voices move like the feet of classically trained ballroom dancers—when one changes notes, it’s as if, by some psychic connection, the other knows to modulate at the exact same moment.
White’s warm tenor and Williams’ pristine, clear-as-a-bell tones come together beautifully, and their faces speak volumes as well, passion and desperation flowing out of their ever-locked gaze. Still, the show never feels heavy; the singers maintain a playful rapport (and goofy competitiveness) throughout and sprinkle their set with unexpected covers (like a dramatically altered take on the Jackson 5 classic “I Want You Back”).
Basically, you should find some time to see them this fall, and if you won’t take my word for it, take Adele’s: She wrote on her blog: “they are by far the BEST live band i have EVER seen. they are magical and stunning, they make my heart hurt but make it a bit stronger at the same time too! perfect timing! please check them out, their record is beautiful. and if your coming to any of the shows on this trip make sure you get there early to see them. Ive never been so blown away.”
Check out the tour dates below (More dates are expected to be added later):
August 12 Boulder, CO eTown
August 21 Lyons, CO Rocky Mountain Folks Festival
September 1 Dublin, Ireland The Sugar Club
September 4-25 various locations, UK On tour in support of Adele
September 15 Paris, France Café de la danse (Eldorado Festival)
September 26 Manchester, UK Night and Day
September 27 London, UK Union Chapel
October 7 Birmingham, AL Alabama Theatre
October 8 Knoxville, TN Bijou Theatre*
October 9 Atlanta, GA Presser Hall at Agnes Scott College*
October 10 Atlanta, GA Presser Hall at Agnes Scott College
October 12-13 Nashville, TN Americana Music Festival & Awards
October 19 Charlotte, NC McGlohan Theatre
October 20 Durham, NC Page Auditorium
October 21 Norfolk, VA NorVa Theatre
October 22 Charlottesville, VA Jefferson Theater
October 23 Washington, DC Lincoln Theatre
October 25 Philadelphia, PA The Trocadero
October 27 New York, NY Town Hall
October 28 Boston, MA Berklee Performance Center
October 29 Montreal, QC Gesu
November 1 Toronto, ON The Phoenix
November 2 Ann Arbor, MI Michigan Theater
November 3 Columbus, OH Lincoln Theatre
November 4 Indianapolis, IN Egyptian Room
November 6 Chicago, IL The Vic
November 8 Milwaukee, WI Turner Hall
November 9 Minneapolis, MN State Theatre
November 13 Vancouver, BC The Vogue
Npvember 14 Seattle, WA The Neptune
November 15 Portland, OR Crystal Ballroom
November 17 San Francisco, CA The Fillmore
November 18 Santa Barbara, CA Lobero Theatre
November 19 Los Angeles, CA The Wiltern
November 20 Tempe, AZ The Marquee
*denotes a sold-out show
Read more on EW.com: