An intimate concert doesn't mean the audience has to total no more
than 50, it doesn't mean that it has to total no more than 200, but
having an audience of over 1,000 come in just as up close and personal
as those smaller ones is extremely rare. The recent tour of The
Civil Wars brought the duo to a venue housing 1,050 people among
the streets of Kansas. And their music created an extremely memorable
Still working off the 2011 release Barton Hollow, John
Paul White and Joy Williams have not only grabbed themselves
a Grammy nomination, but a large following as well. And even though
their music may be labeled as country, their appeal brings in fans
from every corner.
Now you may ask - what would a night with a Grammy nominee look like?
Well, for this particular evening it featured nearly every song from
the full length, as well as a few well-placed covers, all set in a
historical theater so quiet, one dared not even to sneeze. "Forget
Me Not" had that country slide one might expect from any band
labeled as such. The passionate declarations of love were brought
to life in the gentle sways and long gazes the duo played back-and-forth.
And John's guitar kept a light and airy melody flowing between a handful
of chords. The joy continued with "I've Got This Friend"
when the audience was introduced to the story of a couple of friends.
As the fingers danced along the strings plucking out a youthful tune,
vocals jumped from male to female telling each side of the tale. The
fate of the couple is never revealed, but the sentiment of the song
lead the audience to believe they would one day realize they were
Even though some may consider "Poison & Wine" to be
the band's official single, it was "Barton Hollow" that
took the show to another level. From the first few notes, the theater
was transformed into a church, splashed with white, filled with families
fanning themselves from the Southern heat and a choir of voices stronger
than any heard before. The beauty of the song is it kicked itself
into high gear about 11 seconds in, as that's the moment when the
audience randomly realized their feet were tapping. It was pretty
hard to ignore that bass beat so powerful it could shake the earth.
Even the security guy who "didn't really know them", was
in a full body rhythm bob by the end of the song. After a few covers
the original set did come to an end and as predicted, opened the audience's
hearts with "Poison & Wine". The tempo on this song
is maybe one of the slowest and most somber on the entire album, however
it was definitely the song that captured the most attention. This
was the only number the entire night that took Joy from her post next
to John and sat her at a baby grand piano. One could say that if the
night was filled with words of friendship, hard times and the search
for love then this song tied it all up with a nice little bow and
confirmation of emotion.
In addition to the incredible music, that night with The Civil Wars
showed us just how incredible of people those two are. The sibling
banter complimented the displays of encouragement shared. It was easy
to see just how much they truly admired each other. And letting their
audience see them this way only furthered the honesty in their music.
I wouldn't call this a concert, but rather "An Evening with The
The Civil Wars
January 17th, 2012
Liberty Hall, Lawrence KS
More Music Features
e-mail the chief
Like this article?
it to a friend!