I like happy songs. But I must admit that I have a special fondness for sad songs. Since pain and loss are such a major part of life–and many times we do not learn to appreciate what we have until it is gone–most of us can identify with songs of regret, frustration, and mourning. A soulful vocal is a beautiful thing. Yes, I like melancholy music.
A few weeks ago I saw a picture of The Civil Wars. I had two immediate thoughts: Wow, John Paul White looks like Johnny Depp. Is that the same Joy Williams that released solo albums years ago? So I looked up their music to see if if White really looked so much like Depp and if Williams was the same Williams I knew. The answers are yes and yes.
I now know that The Civil Wars are currently a trendy band to speak highly of, though they are in danger of being too well known to be cool to the people who originally liked them (I don’t care if 5 people or 5 billion people like a band I like; the music is the same). The first album I heard was Live at Eddie’s Attic: The Civil Wars (you can download it for free at The Civil Wars’ website). The album opens with an emcee introducing the band, then this:
Joy: Thank you guys. Good evening.
John: If you’re not sad now you’re gonna be.
Joy: Yeah, sorry ’bout that.
And then the music begins. It’s the happiest kind of sad. Haunting harmonies.
Here are a couple of their songs:
I’ve been writing a lot of melancholy songs lately. I have to settle for hearing the vocal harmonies in my head; I haven’t figured out how to sing two vocal parts at once yet. My neighbors are probably wondering why I’m so miserable =)