Ramblin' Rhodes: The Civil Wars now has my attention

Have you ever heard of a “country music” duo called The Civil Wars?


Well, I hadn’t either until the Grammy Awards show last week when their 2011 album Barton Hollow won two Grammys for Best Folk Album and Best Country Duo/Group Performance.

Nashville, Tenn., residents Joy Williams and John Paul White even beat out duo recordings of Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson, Kenny Chesney and Grace Potter and the husband-wife team Thompson Square.

Like the duo Shovels & Rope, The Civil Wars’ music leans more toward being Americana and pioneer country music than country pop music, and like Shovels & Rope (who performed at Sky City last weekend) they perform by themselves with no other band members.

Multiple Grammy winner Adele likes them so much, she had The Civil Wars open several of her North American concerts. She is even said to have written of them, “They are by far the BEST live band I have EVER seen. They are magical and stunning. They make my heart hurt but make it a bit stronger at the same time too!”

They have been on Jay Leno and David Letterman’s TV shows and critically praised internationally.

That’s amazing since they only met in 2008 at a Nashville songwriting session. The following year they released a free Internet download collection of songs titled Live at Eddie’s Attic, which was recorded at a popular nightclub in Decatur, Ga., and which was only their second show together.

Barton Hollow, which won the two Grammys, is their first studio album.

Williams, a native of Santa Cruz, Calif., and her husband, Nate Yetton, founded Sensibility Music in Nashville, which is the label for the Barton Hollow album.

White, a native of Muscle Shoals, Ala., told writer James C. McKinley Jr. for The New York Times that the duo’s name has nothing to do with the American Civil War.

“There is a great quote that I believe is Plato, who said, ‘Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.’ As I was thinking about the music we make, that sense of battle seemed applicable. That sense of yin and yang, of male and female, of our differing backgrounds, all that seemed to allude to the battles that we all face with faith or addictions or jobs or relationships. Every single person walking down the street is fighting a great battle, whether or not you can see it.”


OTHER GRAMMYS: Alison Krauss picked up her 28th Grammy Award for Best Bluegrass Album (Paper Airplane), which she recorded with her band Union Station. Levon Helm, formerly drummer of The Band, won Best Americana album for Ramble at the Ryman. He played Loretta Lynn’s father in the movie Coal Miner’s Daughter.


A DAY IN THE COUNTRY: The 2012 lineup for A Day in the Country, one of Augusta’s biggest and best annual music events, has been announced by event coordinator Elizabeth Norris.

Country star Tracy Lawrence will headline the show, which begins at noon May 6 at Augusta Riverfront Marina. Others include Jerrod Niemann, Ashton Shepherd, Carey Murdock & NoStar, Brantley and the Jeremy Graham Band.

Advance tickets at $25 go on sale Monday. Tickets are $35 day of the show. Children 5 and younger are admitted free with a paying adult. Café special area tickets are $75. Call (803) 278-4849 or visit tixonline.com.


ATLANTA GRAMMY WINNER: David Hobbs, of North Augusta, who works at Savannah River Site, recently was flying from Seattle, Wash., to Atlanta coming home from a business trip. His seatmate was a band member of contemporary Christian music singer Laura Story, who was seated across the aisle from Hobbs.

The band member told Hobbs that Atlanta-resident Story was nominated for a Grammy in the category of Best Contemporary Christian Music Song for her recording of Blessings, a song she also wrote.

He even played the recording of the song over his iPod for Hobbs to hear.

Well, when the Grammys were announced, guess who won? None other than Laura Story for her beautiful Christian ballad. Here is a link to the music video for it: www.youtube.com/watch?v=a8RHOeo8vas

And guess what else? According to her tour schedule, all of you Christian gospel music fans can see Grammy Award-winner Story in person Friday, March 30, at the USC Aiken Convocation Center.


BENEFIT FOR ST. LUKE’S: There will be a concert beginning 4 p.m. Sunday, March 4, at St. Luke UMC Church, 309 Crawford Ave., benefiting the church.

Performing will be Eryn Eubanks & The Family Fold; Davis, Wilson & Hill (Roger Davis, Duane Wilson and Ronnie Hill) and also Karen Gordon and Friends.

Tickets are $15 advance, $20 at the door. Call (706) 833-3967 for details. Pick up tickets at Broadway Tackle, 1730 Broad St.; Crums on Central, 1855 Central Ave.; Midtown Market, 2113 Kings Way; and Salon 606, 606 Crawford Ave.


ROCKIN’ FOR THE KIDS: The annual Rockin’ for the Kids dance will be at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 24, at Richmond on the Greene, 725 Greene St., to send children in foster care to summer camp. The Augusta All Stars Band will include local musicians Jamie Jones, Tom Brittingham, Mark Maund, Lowell Dorn, Pat Blanchard Sr. and others. There will be heavy hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar. Tickets cost $30 advance, $35 at the door, at First Bank branches, or by calling (706) 736-5000.