I love the Civil Wars.
I have known about this “folk-pop duo” (as Letterman called them on Wednesday night when they performed on “The Letterman Show”) who really do not like to have a label attached to their work for a long time…since they were created, really. As Sara Kelm shared in her blog titled “Rock Stars Need Grandmas Too,” I have some connections to this duo. Read the blog to find out.
When I started following them on Facebook (click here to be able to follow them too), they had very few fans, but that fan base grew quickly in a matter of a few weeks. They now have 98,000 followers, but I think that will go up super quickly. In August 2010, they came through Minneapolis and played at a place in Uptown that, at the time, was called Sauced. It has since changed its name to Cause. On that night in August, there were less than 100 people in the bar with a $7 cover charge for the the show, and Kerry and I shared a table with other people who had connections to the duo. It was a great night filled with haunting harmonies, brilliant covers of the Jackson 5 and others, and an appropriately minor version of “You Are My Sunshine“; we bought a few copies of their 4 song EP so that we could share the great music with other people, and Kerry started a round of snapping during the cover of Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean.” By the way, we did get a giggle from Joy over that move as well as – if I remember correctly – an evil eye for making her giggle.
Things have really changed in the past 15 months as the Civil Wars have skyrocketed in so many ways. They have performed on “The Jay Leno Show” … twice. They have been the opening band for Adele in the US as well as in the UK. This week alone has been a huge week for the duo. The NY Times featured them on the front page of the Arts Section. They performed on “The David Letterman Show.” And, if I’m remembering correctly from my Facebook stalking self, they played to the largest crowd at their show in New York last night.
Even though I could be accused of only personally cheering this duo on because of personal, family connections, I am not like that. I like quality music with lyrics that make you think and music that is hard to pin down in a genre. That is what they have going for them. Here in Minneapolis, I have heard them on radio stations that “tote” different genres. Each song that they write will appeal potentially to a different crowd of listener, and that makes for an excellent band. When my own teenagers and their friends like the same band that I and those in every other generation like, that is a pretty good sign that – as long as the Civil Wars keep writing music – they will have a fan base for many years to come.
And, thanks to Facebook, I can continue to stalk them daily and share with my own friends at least once a week about this fantastic “new” group who is taking the music scene by storm.
By the way – their full length CD that was released on February 1, 2011, is available in Target and Best Buy stores as well as on Amazon.com and iTunes.
Joy and John Paul are in the middle of a tour deep in its depth and breadth of the US. I will see them with friends in Milwaukee on Tuesday, Nov 8, and my family will see them in Minneapolis (aat the State Theater!!!) On Wednesday, Nov 9, while I am presenting at a conference in Indianapolis.
PS (Minnesota fans): their Studio C performance of “Poison and Wine” is on the 2011 sampler. So fitting, really!!