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The Civil Wars

Barton Hollow (Sensibility)

Reviewed by Doug Freeman, Fri., March 18, 2011

SXSW Records

The Civil Wars

Barton Hollow (Sensibility)

Proof that Grey's Anatomy still retains the relevance to launch musical careers, the Civil Wars display some moments of real promise, though not enough to warrant the crush of attention paid their debut, Barton Hollow. Melding the California trill of Joy Williams with the Alabama tremble of John Paul White, the duo comes off as a folk version of the Swell Season, and while their voices make a fine natural pairing, they still have a ways to go to grow into each other. They're at their best when their roots show, as with the bluesy title track and the fiddle and steel of "Forget Me Not." But elsewhere ("Poison & Wine," "C'est la Mort") the two are overly prone to prickly emoted ranges, especially with White's reaching high where a lower grit would serve as better contrast. (Fri., 9:45pm, Victorian Room at the Driskill)

**.5

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