Joy williams and john paul white dating
Joy Williams and John Paul White aren’t a couple, but they certainly sound like they’re in love, singing together with the sort of familiarity that only seems to exist between couples and siblings.
On Barton Hollow, their studio debut as the Civil Wars, the two trace each other’s melodies with close harmonies that never fail to lose their romance, even on breakup tunes like “Falling.” It’s an organic, folk-pop sound not unlike the one made by the Swell Season, another boy/girl duo with a talent for making heartbreaking Americana.
“I’m only a couple miles from where I was born, just across the river in Tuscumbia at Helen Keller hospital. You can still go and see the well and the Ivy Green.” White speaks in a honeyed drawl, with an appealing blend of humility and confidence. When we won, a guy I went to school with texted, ‘Congratulations, now you’ve done something that Led Zeppelin and Queen never did.’ That put it in perspective.
White promises a fleshed-out sound for his upcoming tour, which begins in New Orleans and covers a half-dozen states before he heads to the U. I tend to gravitate towards those and strip ’em down.” Metallica and Megadeth (“I was an 80s kid,” White says with a laugh), but now he listens mostly to bluegrass and vintage country like Moon Mullican and Tex Ritter. “I’ve had a hard time finding things that really blow my skirt up, for lack of a better phrase.” As a musician from the Quad-Cities, Southern rock was everywhere. On the Tennessee-Alabama state line, you have to be able to play that stuff.” Regional pride birthed Single Lock Records, his label with partners Ben Tanner of Alabama Shakes and Will Trapp.
“I am 100,000 percent focused on this project, my family, the record label, and the studio. I wasn’t sure I wanted to do this at all anymore so it’s interesting that it has become so rich.” From his Jeff Buckley-style runs at the end of “Hope I Die” to the gritty yelps on the barnstorming “Fight for You,” he sounds unleashed. The schedules wouldn’t line up, so I hired a fiddle player from Lafayette and a guitar player from Tuscaloosa.
The ensemble playing is nuanced and in-the-pocket, just what you’d expect from a crew of Muscle Shoals ringers. They sing those parts, but now I have less weight on my shoulders.
Those who don’t like rootsy ballads are in for some slim pickings, since Barton Hollow shines its brightest whenever the tempos slow, the lights dim, and the voices rise up.
But the title track, with its outlaw lyrics and swanky Southern groove, is a nice change from the norm, and “I’ve Got This Friend” finds a balance between both camps.