As Operation Every Band was covering Newport from NPR’s live webstream a few weeks ago, one of the many highlights occurred when Joy Williams and John Paul White walked on stage during Emmylou Harris’ headlining set to join her for a version of The Band’s “Evangeline”. This moment not only harkened back to the legendary “Last Waltz” concert of 35 years ago, but also formally welcomed The Civil Wars to the big kids table of the current folk/Americana scene. Emmylou Harris is a living legend of alternative country, still releasing great albums (see this year’s Hard Bargain) in her 40th year of recording. Not only did she invite the band onstage at Newport, The Civil Wars had the honor of opening up for Harris on a three-show run leading up to the Rhode Island festival. The bands focused mid-sized theaters in smaller markets in New Jersey, New Hampshire and Maine. Press and fan reviews were light during the small run specific to The Civil Wars, but the Portland Press Herald did chime in by calling the “promising singing duo…an excellent opening act”. The band seemed especially excited to share the stage with Emmylou, sharing beaming Facebook and Twitter updates throughout the run. In addition, The Civil Wars filled in shows between supporting dates with a one-off gig at New York City’s Housing Works Bookstore and a previously scheduled hometown performance for White at Florence, Alabama’s Shoals Theater accompanied by an in-store performance at Pegasus Records earlier that afternoon. After Newport, the band maintained a very light touring schedule (only two Colorado dates) to allow for some recording, including laying down some new tracks presumably in preparation for their sophomore record and shooting a new music video out in Colorado for “My Father’s Father”.
OEB Tour Diary:
Tip of My Tongue, Forget Me Not, From This Valley, Billie Jean - 7/25/11 – Pegasus Records – Florence, AL
My Father’s Father – 7/25/11 – Shoals Theatre – Florence, AL
Posion and Wine – 7/28/11 – Housing Works Bookstore – New York, NY