Whilst we are on the subject of harmony duos, one of my favourites in recent years were The Civil Wars. Classed as Alt Country and unfortunately delivering the pain of that genre into real life, it seems their intertwining harmonies were closer than their relationship and after two studio albums they broke up in 2014 citing irreconcilable differences. At the end of this post is their final statement from their website.
I’ve written about them before and they came to mind again as after a five year silence, one half of the duo, John Paul White, has just released a solo album called Beulah that I am yet to hear. In the meantime this is a track from their debut album Barton Hollow (2010) to remind you how great they were.
Generally all their tracks were co-writes between White and Joy Williams but Poison And Wine is also credited to Chris Lindsey, someone I’m sure you’ve never heard of as he works more in the Country and Pop Country field but his songs or co-writes have sold upwards of 90 million records and this one is an absolute gem.
White also released a solo album, The Long Goodbye, in 2008 before The Civil Wars’ success and Williams released her fifth solo album Venus in 2015, her first non-contemporary Christian release.
What a chemistry they had, their blend of voices, nuance and the dynamics of close vocal harmony as they rise and fall delivering a moving and emotional song lyric “Oh I don’t love you but I always will”.
I’ve said it many times, but for me the genre isn’t the thing, it’s the piece of work and this is an example of how something generally outside of one’s influences, can grab you on its pure passion and quality. Please give it a listen.
26/12/13 – The Civil Wars – I’ve Got This Friend – Live on Jools Holland’s Later – 2011
THE CIVIL WARS’ JOY WILLIAMS AND JOHN PAUL WHITE OFFICIALLY PART WAYS
“The Civil Wars—made up of duo partners Joy Williams and John Paul White—have regretfully decided to permanently part ways. The difficult decision ends a tumultuous period for the four-time Grammy Award-winning band, who has been on indefinite hiatus since late 2012. As a thank you gift and farewell, the band is offering a download of their rendition of “You Are My Sunshine.” Recorded in 2010, the track was originally released in 2011 as a b-side to the band’s limited edition Barton Hollow 7” vinyl. This is the first time the song has been available digitally in the U.S. Both Joy and John Paul have added their personal words on disbanding here below. Joy Williams comments, “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.” John Paul adds, “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.”
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