I came across The Civil Wars the first time when I was flipping through the channels and landed on GAC. Their video "Barton Hollow" was playing, and it completely caught my interest. Their sound is truly unique - kind of a mix of bluegrass, country, pop, and indie. Then, a coworker sent me a link to their cover of "Billie Jean," and that's all it took - I was hooked.
It's actually pretty interesting how the two met. Both of them attended a writing camp where about 20 musicians were attempting to come up with some singles for a country band. Joy's background was in pop, and John Paul's was in the country genre, but the two of them merged together after initially being drawn to each other's voice and musical abilities. If you'd like to read the in-depth story, you can read more about it in their biography on their website.
The stripped-down songs they play create a sense of intimacy between the duo and the audience. Acoustic music seems to always create that feeling, but John Paul and Joy's chemistry on-stage really sets the mood. Even though the two aren't married, they demonstrate every emotion passionately when they're performing, and you can truly see those emotions in their eyes. Love, sorrow, loneliness, hope... it's all there plus more!
I must say, though, that my favorite song of theirs is "Poison and Wine," which you can watch below. This song is so heartfelt and raw that I just can't get enough of it. It was featured on an episode of "Grey's Anatomy," and apparently it was played at a very climatic point in the episode. I can see why they chose that song to portray that feeling because it showcases true passion at its finest. The way the song starts out so soft and gentle and crescendos into the highlight of the song is just simply beautiful. Watch below if you haven't seen or heard it before:
So, The Civil Wars = Unique Awesomeness. Go check 'em out.