Roots, Toots n' Hoots Blog
An expectedly great night for strange bedfellows
Jeffrey Remz | February 13, 2012
Not only does politics make strange bedfellows. So can music. That was in evidence big time Sunday night at the Grammys in the form of Taylor Swift and The Civil Wars.
Funny as it turned out that both were the big winners on the country and Americana end of the evening as each took home a couple of awards. Swift won Best Song for Mean, and the excellent bluegrass-based song on which Swift plays banjo also won Best Country Solo Performance.
Swift also turned in a strong performance of the songs with an old time look and feel from the music to the dress to the scene. This was an excellent night for Swift, especially considering that there was no certainty she was head and shoulders over the field when it came to voters.
In act, Mean is the most country song Swift has ever done. And while she veers far more towards pop than traditional country, this song was most welcome to her repertoire. Let's hope she does more of it.
As for The Civil Wars, the duo of John Paul White and Joy Lynn Williams lugged home two trophies for Best Country Duo/Group Performance and Best Folk Album. The latter found extremely competition with Steve Earle, Fleet Foxes, Eddie Vedder and Gillian Welch also nominated.
I have been a huge fan of the band for a good solid year since I first heard their "Live at Eddie's Attic" download from their second show ever together and caught them twice live including the Newport Folk Festival this summer.
Not only do they sing great together, but there's a real give-and -take personality wise. White 's a funny guy as he showed at the Grammys. And Williams proved to be his foil, laughing at his line. That's no shtick because that's how they are live.
As for the Swift/Civil Wars connection, you would not think the two would have anything in common, but thanks to Swift, they do.
The singer managed to catch them at a Nashville club about a year or so ago. She liked them so much that she bought a bunch of their paraphernalia and started alerting her millions of social media fans about The Civil Wars.
Who knows how many CDs Swift fans bought, but at 280,000 units sold, "Barton Hollow" has done fantastic for an indie release.
But Swift did not stop there. She also has them singing back-up vocals on her new single for "The Hunger Games" soundtrack song of Safe & Sound.
The Civil Wars must be pinching themselves at having the great fortune of having a superstar helping their careers. Kudos to Swift for having the wherewithal to help The Civil Wars beyond buying a t-shirt and to The Civil Wars for merging talents with Swift.
It was a great night for both, but hopefully t won't be the last together for both. Hey Taylor, how about bringing The Civil Wars on tour with you and really expanding their reach?