I like the sound of this band. I do. John Paul White and Joy Williams offer up pleasant folk harmonies, minimal production, acoustic guitar centered roots music. They’re on to something, they just haven’t gotten there yet.
Williams’ voice is a little bit Alison Krauss, which does well to accompany White. However, the first six tracks on Barton Hollow are much of the same. Sparse instrumentation and a harmonic boy/girl vocal blend. It’s very mellow music. But, there isn’t one track that stands out among the rest.
The album seems to pick up with the electric charged title track, “Barton Hallow,” which at first I found a nice release from the hum-drum, until I realized it sounds a little too much like “Save a Horse Ride a Cowboy” by Big & Rich, interchanged with the repetitive line “I’m a dead man walking.”
I can see that the line conjures up visions of the old west but, I’m sorry, I don’t believe you. You’re not a dead man walking, you’re an indie musician whose used a cliché line as a hook for a song.
This album does have a few standout tracks that are worth listening to. Particularly the Gram Parsons/Emmylou Harris-esque track, “Forget Me Not.”
The Civil Wars, “Forget Me Not.”