Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Civil Wars @ The Union Chapel 28/09/11

They may have met 3 years ago, but it is only really in the last year that the duo of Joy Williams and John Paul White (aka The Civil Wars) have started to make a big musical splash, both with fans, and fellow musicians alike (Adele was so impressed on hearing them she immediately signed them up to be her support act on her US tour). And it is really not hard to see why on the evidence of their debut album Barton Hallow. Stunning vocal harmonies and wonderful bitter sweet songs, have already made it, for me, one of the albums of the year. So a trip out to the wonderful surroundings of The Union Chapel to see them live was too good a chance to miss.

I was not disappointed. A 80 minute set – including two encores (the second highly unexpected, and had Williams in tears) – was joy from start to finish with the pair showing a natural playful chemistry both with audience and one another. John Paul has a touch of Johnny Depp about him, whilst Joy is a bit of a minx. Musically they mixed things up nicely with a blend of material from the debut album and unique cover versions as varied as You are my Sunshine (various); I want you Back (Jacksons), Dance Me to the End of Love (Leonard Cohen), Billy Jean (M Jackson) and Disarm (Smashing Pumpkins).

The crowd sat in their pews hanging on every word and note: we were wooed by them and them by us in return.

20 Years
Poison and Wine
Barton Hollow
Billy Jean