Last evening I was blessed with the opportunity to travel into the land of bulldogs to witness one of many performances of The Civil Wars' rise to fame. Packed into a small bar/restaurant, anticipation built as the clock ticked closer to half past eight. A sweet, quirky artist, Lucy Schwartz, opened the show combining arts of clapping, do-da's and some impressive harmonica skills; within minutes hearts were captured.
This was not the first time I had seen The Civil Wars. Back in October, The Melting Point hosted them with a following of forty at best, many of whom were only there for a nice dinner that happened to be accompanied by some impressive background music. This was not the case last night. The audience was well informed in what they were about to experience. Whether the grape-vine had led them to this spot or God's fortunate hand of fate, a sight was to be had.
Soon after things were cleaned up, John Paul White emerged from a wooden door to the left. His plaid bow-tie laid casually on each side of his collar as he tuned his strings to perfection. Joy Williams made her entrance in her black dress and matching heels holding a cup of hot tea in one hand and a glass of rich, red wine in the other. With the first note of "Tip of My Tongue," the room fell silent and the audience swooned.
It could have been the way J.P. broke a string a few minutes in and restrung it without a second thought. It could have been Joy's endearing smile as she swayed to the melodies that finally weren't only in her dreams. It could have been the talent that resonated from the stage with every passing second.
But though all of these things were nice and made the evening that much better, the moment that I remember the most is Joy Williams clasping her hands at her heart and looking upward after finishing the one song they carried from their EP to their album, "Poison & Wine."
This intimacy is priceless. Many bands let stardom diminish the memories from where they came. The Civil Wars create an atmosphere where everyone is a vital part. Autographs will be signed and t-shirts will be bought. Pictures will be taken and more shows will be sold out. I hope all of these things further this sweet duo's career, but more than anything I pray that none of what was felt last night is lost.
Currently Listening: "To Whom it May Concern" by The Civil Wars