The Civil Wars set to tour the U.S. this fall: Here's why you need to check them out


If you haven’t been listening to The Civil Wars, the male-female duo with a penchant for plaintive love songs and folksy Americana melodies, consider this a friendly Music Mix advisory that you need to start.

Thankfully, the band is making this easy for you, as they’ll be heading out on a just-announced U.S. tour in the fall, capping off what  has been a terrific year for the band.

The pair released their first LP, Barton Hollow, in February, and on the strength of singles “Poison and Wine” and “Barton Hollow,” the disc has quietly sold over 150,000 over the past six months. In March, they were named one of VH1’s “You Oughta Know” artists, and in May, they were chosen to open for Adele during select dates on her tour. (In June, they got a shout-out in our Singles Swap, too.)

They were also recently nominated by the Americana Music Awards as Duo/Group of the Year alongside The Avett Brothers, Mumford and Sons, and Robert Plant and the Band of Joy (Wow, that category pretty much encapsulates my taste in music).

Last week, I had the chance to see the duo play an acoustic set in New York’s Housing Works Bookstore Café, and I was floored. Joy Williams and John Paul White aren’t a couple, but they sing with all the intimacy and nuance of spouses who have known each other deeply for decades.

Their complex harmonies are rock-solid, and their voices move like the feet of classically trained ballroom dancers—when one changes notes, it’s as if, by some psychic connection, the other knows to modulate at the exact same moment.

White’s warm tenor and Williams’ pristine, clear-as-a-bell tones come together beautifully, and their faces speak volumes as well, passion and desperation flowing out of their ever-locked gaze.  Still, the show never feels heavy; the singers maintain a playful rapport (and goofy competitiveness) throughout and sprinkle their set with unexpected covers (like a dramatically altered take on the Jackson 5 classic “I Want You Back”).

Basically, you should find some time to see them this fall, and if you won’t take my word for it, take Adele’s: She wrote on her blog: “they are by far the BEST live band i have EVER seen. they are magical and stunning, they make my heart hurt but make it a bit stronger at the same time too! perfect timing! please check them out, their record is beautiful. and if your coming to any of the shows on this trip make sure you get there early to see them. Ive never been so blown away.”

Check out the tour dates below (More dates are expected to be added later):

August 12    Boulder, CO    eTown
August 21    Lyons, CO     Rocky Mountain Folks Festival
September 1     Dublin, Ireland     The Sugar Club
September 4-25     various locations, UK     On tour in support of Adele
September 15     Paris, France     Café de la danse (Eldorado Festival)
September 26     Manchester, UK     Night and Day
September 27     London, UK     Union Chapel
October 7     Birmingham, AL     Alabama Theatre
October 8     Knoxville, TN     Bijou Theatre*
October 9     Atlanta, GA     Presser Hall at Agnes Scott College*
October 10     Atlanta, GA     Presser Hall at Agnes Scott College
October 12-13     Nashville, TN     Americana Music Festival & Awards
October 19     Charlotte, NC     McGlohan Theatre
October 20     Durham, NC     Page Auditorium
October 21     Norfolk, VA     NorVa Theatre
October 22     Charlottesville, VA     Jefferson Theater
October 23     Washington, DC     Lincoln Theatre
October 25     Philadelphia, PA     The Trocadero
October 27     New York, NY     Town Hall
October 28     Boston, MA Berklee     Performance Center
October 29     Montreal, QC     Gesu
November 1     Toronto, ON     The Phoenix
November 2     Ann Arbor, MI     Michigan Theater
November 3     Columbus, OH     Lincoln Theatre
November 4     Indianapolis, IN     Egyptian Room
November 6     Chicago, IL     The Vic
November 8     Milwaukee, WI     Turner Hall
November 9     Minneapolis, MN     State Theatre
November 13     Vancouver, BC     The Vogue
Npvember 14     Seattle, WA     The Neptune
November 15     Portland, OR     Crystal Ballroom
November 17     San Francisco, CA     The Fillmore
November 18     Santa Barbara, CA     Lobero Theatre
November 19     Los Angeles, CA     The Wiltern
November 20     Tempe, AZ     The Marquee
*denotes a sold-out show

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Comments (10 total) Add your comment
  • kt

    Already have my tickets! I’m so excited for this!

  • Brittany

    I was thrilled to see this post on EW! If you have not listened to their music you should definitely take a listen. I instantly fell in love with “Poison and Wine” and have not stopped listening since.

  • Steph

    I’ve loved the Civil Wars for the past two years (since their live album was released). So glad you gave them a shout-out!

  • Jennifer

    John Paul White is from my town of Florence, AL. They’ve done 3 or 4 shows here, the latest of which sold out in just a few days. I saw them at the benefit concert they headlined for the April tornado victims. 100% of the money went to the Salvation Army’s relief efforts.

    What the article doesn’t mention is that, in addition to being the most gifted life band you’ll likely ever see, they are also disarmingly charming and unassuming. Seeing them in concert was one of the loveliest evenings I’ve ever had.

    Even my husband, who is the first to admit that he normally doesn’t really notice or appreciate really good music, immediately downloaded their album after the concert and started listening to it on loop.

    • Jennifer

      most gifted *live* band

  • jessica

    They are the best live band I have ever seen hands down. Don’t pass up a chance to see them before they are Huge!!!

  • Sadie

    I caught on to them just a few months after their last visit to the area, so I was THRILLED to see they are coming back in October. Cannot wait to see them live. And Grady, that duo category features three of the bands that are heavy on my music rotation list, too.

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