If you watched the Grammy’s on TV, you probably saw Taylor Swift being announced by the duo, The Civil Wars. “Yay” I cheered at the screen and shouted for my husband, Kevin, to join me. Because of our experience last summer, we were seriously pumped to see them on the Grammys.
Kevin and I attended a Civil Wars concert in the summer of 2011. It had been a spur of the moment decision: The ticket price was low and we had someone to watch the kids. After being impressed by the music video for Barton Hollow, we decided what the heck? We knew that The Civil Wars is a duo with two members. But at that point we did not even know their names. We later found out that the members of the Civil Wars are Joy Williams and John Paul White.
Kevin and I were very excited to see the concert. After parking the car, we walked to the Egyptian Theatre to get our tickets and our bearings. Our first order of business was to get something to eat. Stumped as to where to go, we decided to check out The Pita Pit. The Pita Pit has delicious food but cramped seating arrangements. Due to the warm weather, we considered eating outside.
We walked into a jam-packed Pita Pit and started scanning the menu. Suddenly, Kevin got a funny look on his face. “It’s the Civil Wars” he said in a stage whisper. I slowly looked behind me. Sure enough, there was a man and a woman in line directly behind and to the left of me. Immediately, I am trying to figure out if he is right. I’ve seen their music video but do I recognize them? Ever try to look at someone without staring at them? Oh my goodness my husband was right! We had never met a member of a band and truthfully, we froze up. Abruptly, Joy and Jean Paul turned around and left. We could have gotten pictures; we could have gotten an autograph! There was a distinct inkling to chase them down. But we didn’t. Dejected, we also left the bustling pita pit to find a quieter place to eat.
The venue was a small seated event at the Egyptian Theater, located in downtown Boise, Idaho. Kevin and I were on the bottom floor. Their opening act, Rayland Baxter, announced the Civil Wars and Jean Paul and Joy entered. There were two microphones, two guitars, and a piano on stage. Smiling, they greeted us, introduced themselves, and positioned themselves in front of their microphones.
There is only one way to describe their singing and playing – perfection. There were no sour notes, only raw and genuine talent with effortlessly blending harmonies. Each song was moving. Their unique style of singing together and getting very close at different parts of their songs added to the power of their performance. Joy energetically moved to the music. She played piano and even an accordion for one song. Jean Paul joked around, masterfully played guitar, and blended his voice with hers. Alone, their voices are lovely. Together, their voices are commanding.
We could literally feel the excitement of the audience begin to build. Jean Paul picked up a steel guitar and the opening notes of Barton Hollow began. Suddenly, those around us were singing along, we were singing along. The Civil Wars truly seemed to be enjoying themselves. They were humble, Joy even joked with the audience that we “know the words” to their song! The concert had everything you could ask for: talent, excitement, fun and a little bit of awe. Kevin and I went home and bought every album that we could find.
The night ended for us with a sense that we had been a part of something very special. We had been on the ground floor of something that would be much bigger. The talent of the Civil Wars practically demands a larger venue and fan base. They won two Grammys in 2012 and are touring in Europe through April. According to their Facebook fan page they will be back in Memphis, Tennessee in May for a quick jot back around the U.S.
And I could have met them? Go figure.