The Civil Wars

Chuck Willis

Chuck Willis

I haven’t loved Joy Williams’ new solo material so far.

Maybe it’s because I’m craving the dynamics that The Civil Wars had sonically.

Since the group broke up, Joy Williams has been pretty vocal about her attempt to speak to John Paul White, her former bandmate, while White has failed to even utter her name during a Grammy acceptance speech. It’s bizarre. Dramatic, even.

It’s odd enough to make you wonder what went wrong and caused such a deep riff in a duo that once had such palpable chemistry.

Williams addresses the split without going into much details in the recently released “What A Good Woman Does”

“Hear me, I haven’t lost my voice without you near me. I could tell the truth about you leaving, but that’s not what a good woman does,” she sings during the piano ballad.

William’s soft vocals shine over the sparse production as she delivers lyrics that are simply heartbreaking.

We still don’t know exactly what happened to the duo, but it’s clear the scars from the fallout still haven’t healed.

Williams is scheduled to release her solo album, Venus on June 30.

Listen to “What A Good Woman Does” and share your thoughts below. Continue reading

The Civil Wars in “The One That Got Away” studio cut

The Civil Wars in “The One That Got Away” studio cut

The Civil Wars are officially over. The duo announced the permanent separation on their website this afternoon, with both John Paul White and Joy Williams releasing statements on the split.

“I am saddened and disappointed by the ending of this duo, to say the very least. JP is a tremendous musician, and I will always be grateful for the music we were able to create together. I sincerely hope that ‘You Are My Sunshine’ will be accepted as a token of my gratitude for every single person that has supported our duo throughout the years. I’m so thankful and my heart is full. Looking ahead, I’m excited to share the music that I am writing and recording in the midst of this difficult transition. I’ve loved being back in the studio, and have missed performing live. I look forward to seeing you soon,” Williams said.

“I would like to express sincere thanks to all who were a part of the arc of The Civil Wars—from the beginning, to the end, and all points in between. My deep appreciation goes out to all who supported, disseminated, and enjoyed the music. Whatever shape or form the next chapter takes, thanks for being a large part of this one,” White said.

John Paul White and Joy Williams first hinted at internal issues in 2012, cancelling their tour due to “irreconcilable differences.” They went on to release their self-titled sophomore album in 2013, but all of their promotional efforts were done separately.

As the months went on it became increasingly clear that the duo wasn’t going to reconcile. When they won a Grammy for Best Country Duo/Group Performance for “From This Valley,” White accepted the award, “forgetting” to thank Williams. He later apologized on Twitter for the “classless and unacceptable” omission.

The duo has released a cover of “You Are My Sunshine” that they recorded in 2010 and originally released as a B-side from the band’s Barton Hollow 7” vinyl as a farewell gift to fans. Listen to the song here.


The Civil Wars in "Dust To Dust" video

The Civil Wars in “Dust To Dust” video

Everything’s not lost.

The Civil Wars’ video for “Dust To Dust” is composed of footage from the group’s trip to Paris in 2011, mixed with shots of the duo singing the track in the studio.

Joy Williams and John Paul White are no longer on speaking terms, but the two appear to be in sync throughout the video as they roam the City of Love together. According to Williams, the duo thought the Paris footage was lost, but upon finding it thought it would go perfectly with this song.

Let’s hope they can find their chemistry again and get back to work! Continue reading



The Civil Wars’ sophomore self-titled album topped the Billboard 200 chart with first week sales of 116,000, according to Billboard.

The Civil Wars could be the duo’s last album together, because members Joy Williams and John Paul White have been on hiatus since last year and haven’t spoken to each other in months. It’d be a shame for the group to throw in the towel now, considering The Civil Wars is the best release yet. They should be touring and promoting the release as a group.



I’ve seriously been listening to The Civil Wars’ new album on repeat since last week so I thought the Throwback Thursday song for this week should be “Barton Hollow.” I can still vividly remember stopping in my tracks when I heard Joy Williams and John Paul White singing this song for the first time during The Grammys and after purchasing their debut album I became OBSESSED with the group.

I just want them to make up and make more music. Is that too much to ask for?

Listen to the dark tune below! Continue reading



“Oh If I could go back in time, when you only held me in my mind,” The Civil Wars lament in album opener and lead single “The One That Got Away.” The duo, comprised of John Paul White and Joy Williams, who haven’t spoken to each other in months and are on “indefinite hiatus,” said they communicated through their music when tension arose. Still, White and Williams are married to other people, and urge fans not to take lyrics too literally. Most of the album isn’t as aggressive sonically, but the theme of a tragic love flows throughout this project. “Same Old Same Old” is about a love that has become too familiar and is in desperate need of change in order for things to continue, while “Dust To Dust” finds the duo singing of being lonely because of the walls they have both built to keep each other out. “Don’t say that it’s over,” the duo sings over “Eavesdrop,” which begins as an acoustic track, then swells into a passionate tune full of drama and impatience. The duo’s cover of “Tell Mama” fits in thematically with the rest of these songs, but benefits from a change in perspective.

Standout track “I Had Me A Girl,” features White singing lead over a country/folk Rick Rubin produced tune about a femme fatale. It’s the best we’ve heard from the duo since “Barton Hollow.” The Grammy winning group rose to fame after the release of their debut album Barton Hallow and their Hunger Games collaboration with Taylor Swift. The band quickly became known for their country and folk influences and their voices both separately and together. White and Williams may not be a couple, but their chemistry is fel in every song they’ve created together. Continue reading



The fate of The Civil Wars may still be unknown, but one thing is for certain: the duo still makes great music together. Yesterday the group placed their self-titled sophomore album on Itunes for fans to stream for a week until the album is released on August 6. As usual, I’m keeping my thoughts on the album to myself until I post my review on the official release date!

Listen to the album here and share your thoughts!



Where The Civil Wars’ “The One That Got Away” is angry and resentful, the second single from their self-titled sophomore album is soft and comforting. “Dust To Dust” finds Joy Williams and John Paul White taking off the masks and admitting they’re one in the same (or at least the characters in the song are) and trying to fight the loneliness. They’re voices mesh together perfectly, as usual. It’s another song that’s sure to keep people speculating about what’s caused the band’s indefinite hiatus. The Civil Wars will be released on August 6.

Listen to the ballad over at NPR.

The Civil Wars in behind the scenes studio footage

The Civil Wars in behind the scenes studio footage

If you are wondering where The Civil Wars currently stand, member Joy Williams says she and bandmate John Paul White are “in a place of tension and in a place of ‘to be determined.'” They play on their personal issues in their latest single “The One That Got Away.” “We blend fact and fiction and we don’t like to allude to which is which,” said Williams in new studio footage, in which the duo previews new music, including a song titled “I Had Me A Girl.”

The duo is set to release their sophomore self-titled album (and possibly their last as a pair) on August 6. Continue reading

The Civil Wars in "The One That Got Away" studio cut

The Civil Wars in “The One That Got Away” studio cut

The Civil Wars’ John Paul White and Joy Williams are known for their passionate vocals and undeniable chemistry when performing together, but the studio footage released by the duo for their latest single “The One That Got Away” plays on the fact that the band recently split due to “irreconcilable differences.” Eye rolling, sighing, and annoyed glances are highlighted in the clip, though I’m sure it was edited that way to emphasize the song’s lyrics.

Still, it makes you wonder what happened between two friends who, at one point, could not stop smiling whenever they were on stage together. Continue reading