One of the best albums of the last decade… and it’s on my regular rotation still, was The Civil Wars’ Barton Hollow. Rarely, in my opinion, does an album that is truly popular, deserve to be so. The multi-platinum Barton Hollow is one of those records. So, like many fans, I was awaiting the follow up with some anticipation. That wait is soon to be over. But there’s a downside. I knew they had canceled a European tour due to “differences”. It appears those differences spilled out onto this new record. The new single is above. NPR did a story on them and the recording process here (and a short behind the scenes video).
“Honestly, me connecting the lyrics to the situation happened over time and not immediately,” says Peacock, who’s only behind the scenes in the behind-the-scenes video. “It really wasn’t until they’d finished the bulk of their recording and gone off to Europe, and I was sitting with the tracks alone that I realized, ‘Oh my, it’s all here — they really aren’t getting along!’ In some sort of incredibly ironic twist, I suppose creating the music together was the best way to deal with it. They mostly kept their cool though. I co-wrote ‘The One That Got Away’ with them in the studio and I never had any sense that they were anything but respectful as co-creators, and from my perspective, really at the top of their game. Inside the process, I think they were both all about the art and nothing else.”
Slagle and 1504 also put the art first, filming ways that complement the clear-as-a-mountain-river directness of The Civil Wars sound. “A lot of the emotion comes from the music itself, and we didn’t want any tensions to overshadow the music. That said, we shot the interviews in a first-person format to create as direct a connection as possible between Joy, JP and fans.”
Like The Civil Wars album itself, which will be released August 6, this short trip inside a troubled process leaves room for speculation, but steers the listener (or viewer) to put the powerful, rewarding music first. As for the duo’s future, Peacock holds out hope.
“No question, people are going to be listening to this new music, and the two of them will go on to make more worthy music, even if they’re apart,” he wrote. “That said, my number one hope is forgiveness and reconciliation for the two of them. One of the most satisfying and uniquely human actions is the ability to forgive and receive forgiveness. It’s sets the stage for a thousand do-overs. Like a lot of people, the two of them singing together is one do-over I’d pay big money to hear and see.”
I’m excited by the new material, but hope they can get it back together. If Charlie Peacock’s final statement there sounds Christian, it’s because he’s a Christian. I got to spend a few hours with him right as Barton Hollow was moving up and he spoke very highly of them as people and not just musicians. And of course you can pre-order the new album here.