NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Here’s a question the members of the duo The Civil Wars have been contemplating a lot lately: What’s the value of a star’s tweet? Or two? Or three?

For Joy Williams and John Paul White, tweets by Taylor Swift, Hillary Scott of Lady Antebellum and Sara Bareilles, among many others, helped drive first-week sales of their debut album, “Barton Hollow,” to levels they didn’t expect. They sold out one tour and now have a more ambitious schedule down the road, had their video added by CMT, and now have at their fingertips limitless possibilities that good old-fashioned word of mouth brings in the Internet age.

“Instantly, with one click, five million people knew our names,” White said of Swift’s tweet.

Swift threw her support behind the duo when she told fans she was listening to “Poison & Wine”: “You can’t push ‘repeat’ on vinyl so I keep setting the needle back on my record player.”

And that — combined with other unexpected national word-of-mouth opportunities — helped the band sell five times as many copies of “Barton Hollow” in its opening week in February than expected. The album debuted at No. 12 on the Billboard 200 with about 25,000 copies sold. After five weeks it’s climbing steadily at 50,000.

After catching a show in Nashville, Swift told fans she and a friend bought T-shirts “cause we’re superfanssss. They RULE live!”

Perhaps not coincidentally, a tour earlier this winter sold out with fans looking in through the windows at some venues. A larger tour later this year is already approaching sellout.

Add in an endorsement from Bareilles, an out-of-the-blue appearance on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” and a song placement on “Grey’s Anatomy,” and Williams and White are feeling the love, which is just as good as a multimillion-dollar advertising campaign.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

barton hollow1 Celebrity Tweets Help Folk Duo Find Success

(Credit: Tec Petaja/The Civil Wars)


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