Fly Fishing Music: “Barton Hollow” by The Civil Wars
In 1653, Izaak Walton published The Compleat Angler; or, the Contemplative Man’s Recreation. The work has become one of the most well known books in the English language. It’s certainly well known among fly anglers. The book touts the joys of fishing (including much about fly fishing), but the book was also meant by Walton to be a soft protest against the civil wars that had plagued England, Scotland and Ireland during the decade prior. While no doubt quite interesting, this post is actually not about those civil wars of 350 years ago (thank goodness!). It’s about The Civil Wars of Tennessee and Alabama . . . today.
This version of “The Civil Wars” is one of the most interesting musical groups to emerge this year. The duo of Joy Williams and John Paul White has taken alt. county/Americana (very) mainstream. They’ve earned many, many accolades over the past several months for their music. One of the most popular songs by The Civil Wars is “Barton Hollow.” It’s a great song, a haunting tune – despite its driving, toe-tapping beat – about sin and greed, fear and flight, forgiveness and salvation (or not). The lyrics almost sound like from a modern, Southern-born Raskolnikov – from Dostoyevsky’s master work, Crime and Punishment.