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The Civil Wars


The Civil Wars - Joy Williams and John Paul White

The Civil Wars - Joy Williams and John Paul White

photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Description of the Civil Wars' Music:

Contemporary folk, Americana, singer-songwriters


The Civil Wars are part of an ongoing wave of contemporary folk singer-songwriters whose work is firmly rooted in the tradition of the craft, while making a conscious effort to move it forward. Incorporating elements of modern pop and indie rock into their work, the Civil Wars may be of interest to similar progressive folk bands like the Decemberists, Fleet Foxes, and the Head and the Heart. For their male-female harmonies and dynamic, they may also be of interest to fans of revivalists like Ian & Sylvia, or more contemporary artists like Gillian Welch & David Rawlings.

The Civil Wars Lineup:

Joy Williams - vocals
John Paul White - guitar, vocals

Recommended CDs by the Civil Wars:

Barton Hollow (Sensibility Music, 2011) compare prices

Poison & Wine EP (Sensibility Music, 2009) purchase/download

Purchase/Download Civil Wars MP3s:

"20 Years" (from Barton Hollow)
"Tip of My Tongue" (from Poison & Wine EP)
"Dance Me to the End of Love" (from Barton Hollow)

The Civil Wars Biography:

Both accomplished singer-songwriters in their own right, Joy Williams and John Paul White make up the duo known as the Civil Wars. Williams released eleven solo recordings before meeting White in a Nashville, Tenn., recording studio in 2008. They were both there for a songwriting session, and found that their musical chemistry was unmatchable.

In March of the following year, they made their performing debut in Nashville at the French Quarter Cafe, where they were spotted by producer Charlie Peacock (known mostly for his work producing Christian artists). Peacock invited them to his Art House studio and began recording and working with them there. Their second performance - at Eddie's Attick in Decatur, Georgia - was recorded and released as a live EP.

Though that EP was rather well-received, the Civil Wars probably got an even bigger break when the blockbuster TV show Grey's Anatomy featured their song "Poison & Wine" (purchase/download) in its entirety in late 2009. The week after the show aired, the duo released an EP titled for their new hit song. The following year, Paste Magazine named them "Best of What's Next," just before the duo released their first full-length album Barton Hollow. Another landmark moment was when Taylor Swift tweeted from a Civil Wars concert, recommending her followers check them out. Suddenly the Civil Wars were under the spotlight of major media and mainstream fanbases.

Barton Hollow has earned the band a number of accolades and accomplishments, including a performance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno an Americana Music Award nomination for Duo/Group of the Year and Emerging Artist of the Year, two Grammy nominations (Best Folk Album for Barton Hollow; Best Country Duo/Group Performance for the song "Barton Hollow"), a nomination for a CMT Award (for Duo Video of the Year)and an opening slot on the road with pop superstar Adele.

In addition to their tour with Adele, the Civil Wars have shared bills with Emmylou Harris and been featured at the 2011 Newport Folk Festival, the Country Music Awards (where they were nominated for Vocal Duo of the Year), and received the ASCAP Vanguard Award. They teamed up with Taylor Swift and T Bone Burnett to write a song titled "Safe and Sound," to be featured in the film version of the popular book series, The Hunger Games. According to Wikipedia, the Civil Wars have sold more than 200,000 copies of Barton Hollow and even more digital downloads of their Poison & Wine EP. The former has made a number of year-end Best of 2011 lists, and top honors from USA Today and others.

In late 2012, the duo announced it would cancel the remaining dates on their fall and winter tour, citing internal differences. They had already recorded a follow-up to Barton Hollow, however, and that disc - reportedly self-titled - is due in Aug. 2013. General consensus in the folk/Americana industry, however, continues to be confused about whether or not the band has broken up.

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