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All Songs Considered

All Songs At 15: The Civil Wars' Tiny Desk Concert


The Civil Wars perform at NPR headquarters in Washington, DC for a Tiny Desk Concert on Thursday, May 12, 2011.
Mito Habe-Evans, NPR
The Civil Wars perform at NPR headquarters in Washington, DC for a Tiny Desk Concert on Thursday, May 12, 2011.

Every Thursday this year we're celebrating All Songs Considered's 15th birthday with personal memories and highlights from the show's decade and a half online and on the air. If you have a story about the show you'd like to share, drop us an email: '; // --> .

In March of 2011 I walked into a club in Austin during the South by Southwest music festival and fell in love with a duo featuring a man and a woman who I assumed just had to be a couple. Their on-stage chemistry radiated with love and passion. It was magical. The band was The Civil Wars, featuring Joy Williams and John Paul White from Nashville, and they'd just released their first album, Barton Hollow. I invited them to play the Tiny Desk and a few months later they showed up at NPR and charmed us all. Over the band's short life there were two records, four Grammy awards and, by the time it was over, Joy and John Paul didn't even speak to one another.

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This week we got a hint of what's to come from Joy Williams with her first new song as a solo artist. It's called "Woman (Oh Mama)" and we featured it on this week's show. It has the passion of The Civil Wars, but musically there's pop where there used to be gentle acoustic strum. The song delighted and surprised me.

I'm waiting to hear from John Paul and I'm looking forward to the summer's release of Venus, Joy Williams' album. But for this week's Throw Back Thursday, let's remember the spark the two managed to draw out of each other in this gorgeous Tiny Desk performance.

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