Last night I went to see The Civil Wars at The Academy 2 in Manchester. My daughter saw them supporting Adele last year and text me from the Apollo to say she was watching a duo I would love. She was right, I bought their debut album, Barton Hollow, and was hooked by their perfect harmonies and brand of Americana/Country/Folk. I snapped up tickets when their solo tour was announced. Since then, the band have won two Grammies and are returning in the Autumn to larger venues. Jo and I felt lucky to be watching them in the relatively intimate atmosphere of the Academy and we managed to weave ourselves through the sell-out crowd to quite near the front (an important factor when you barely scrape 5ft 2).
With just John-Paul White's guitar as accompaniment, his and Joy Williams' vocals were just perfect and their chemistry was palpable. They treated us to much of Barton Hollow plus wonderful covers of Portishead's "Sour Times", Leonard Cohen's "Dance Me To The End Of Love" and, as an encore that got the whole place singing along, a pared down version of "Billie Jean". The duo appeared to genuinely enjoy themselves and were very warmly received by the Mancunian crowd. If you get the chance, do go and see them, The Civil Wars will not disappoint.