Call me crazy but I’m a sucker for an album that can transport me to somewhere beautiful within seconds of me pressing the ‘play’ button. Regardless of where I’m sent too, I love how the music carries me to places my bank account can’t. For example: Joni Mitchell takes me to Woodstock, Alanis Morissette takes me to past memories, The Beatles take me to Liverpool and now, The Civil Wars take me to Northern Ibiza.
Imagine this: Northern Ibiza, there’s a campfire and it’s the sunset. The soundtrack? ‘Barton Hollow’ – The Civil Wars, without a doubt.
I can’t think of a more appropriate setting for this haunting, yet beautiful, album and the first thing I love about it is that it has the ability to transport me to such a specific setting. I’ve never even been to Northern Ibiza but I know for a fact that this is the place I’m at when listening to ‘Barton Hollow’.
Songs such as ‘Poison & Wine’ and ‘To Whom It May Concern’ take me right to that campfire, roasting marshmallows and hanging out with my favourite people. These songs evoke nothing but a type of overwhelming want for everything to be as simple as that setting. As beautifully crafted as it is, ’20 Years’ reminds me of the film ‘Mulan’; it might have something to do with the oriental inspired instrumental introduction, but I’m filled with thoughts of Mushu the dragon, Mulan’s hilarious sidekick whenever the beginning of the song begins to play.
‘Barton Hollow’ starts off a bit shaky for me – it’s too Anastacia like for my liking but as soon as the lyrics kick in, I’m captured. It’s got the angry scorned woman sound to it but at the same time, the American country twang keeps it fresh and feisty.
I’ve yet to find a perfect male/female duet since Sonny and Cher but listening to ‘Birds of a Feather’ makes me think I’ve finally found a contender. Don’t get me wrong, it’s no “I’ve Got You Babe” but it certainly comes close.
Aside from their own original tracks, The Civil Wars have also included a cover of Michael Jackson’s ‘Billie Jean’. As if I didn’t have enough love for this album, I’m suddenly filled with even more. They take on one of the King of Pop’s most famous songs and actually do it justice. Round of applause x 100.
‘Girl With The Red Balloon’ is an evocative, gothic track that reminds me of ‘Hunchback of Notredame’ while ‘I’ve Got This Friend’ reminds me of being in my best friend’s car, singing along to cheesy pop music. Although it’s far from cheesy, it just evokes memories relating to one of my most treasured relationships. A bonus to ‘Barton Hollow’ is your emotions are literally forced to speed across the spectrum in the space of minutes. Mentally, you’re kept on your toes constantly but in reality, you’re free to sit down with a cup of coffee and relax.
I’d be lying if I was to say that this album is 100% perfect; while some songs are exactly that, there are a few which leave nothing but a ringing in my ears.
What I love most about this album is its ability to include practically every type of song; there’s rock inspired shout-y songs, chilled out lazy Sunday morning songs, covers and even lullabies. Theoretically, it’s the perfect album. However, it’s only really perfect if you like a bit of variation to your country music. I’d never heard a slow country song until listening to this album and I quite like that I’ve had my ears opened to that. While it’s not exactly a genre I’m a big fan of, ‘Barton Hollow’ is still a really enjoyable album.