In one of my recent Twitter posts I commented how last year (2010) was a lean year for Folk/Folk Rock music, especially as far as the Platinum Vinyl Awards were concerned. This year I found four qualified releases. All year. I didn't have to do any paring down.
Things seem to be looking up this year. First up is Barton Hollow by The Civil Wars. The group is composed of Vocalist/Pianist Joy Williams and Vocalist/Guitarist John Paul White. They are described as Southern Americana Rock, though that might be stretching it a bit. Acoustic Folk is more like it. The acoustic guitar is the most dominant instrument here, occasionally some piano, and some orchestral strings from time to time. As I progress through the album, the Title Cut, which is the seventh of twelve, is the first which could be reasonably described as Folk Rock. The next cut is The Violet Hour, a string/acoustic folk instrumental.
The album is a Joy to listen to, no pun intended. I am not familiar with Joy Williams music when she recorded with Reunion Records, but here her delicate but haunting vocals are perfectly matched to the style of music, which is complementary, not overpowering. Joy Williams is Folk Musics answer to Amy Lee of Evanescence.
Like last years hard rock entry of Apocalyptica, The Civil Wars is not a CCM entry, but it is a completely enjoyable, clean Folk Album suitable to be listened to by anyone. I don't think I am going out on a limb too far by awarding it 5 Emeralds in the Folk/Folk Rock Category. North and South agree in this "Civil Wars".