After a brilliant rise to fame thanks to a rustic, country/folky sound with impeccable harmonies; after their debut album Barton Hollow went gold and went on to win two Grammys; at the end of 2012, it suddenly appeared that the duo known as The Civil Wars were unfortunately living up to their name. Fans were shocked when the band announced on their Facebook page that they were abruptly cancelling their tour due to “internal discord and irreconcilable differences of ambition.” Yet, soon after, Joy Williams and John Paul White announced they were still working on new music.
This week, they made good on that promise with the advance release of a new single, “The One That Got Away,” coupled with the announcement of an August 6 release date for their new self-titled album. Passionate and mournful, with a subtle infusion of rock elements, the song seems to carry a bit of the emotion behind the band’s recent struggles.
Oh. And as you would expect…it’s very, very good.
It would be premature to suggest that the release of this music is an indication that the duo have ironed out all their previously “irreconcilable differences.” Williams and White have become quite skilled at revealing the presence of a problem while remaining cryptic about the details. The press release associated with the single states that “the album was recorded amidst a grueling touring schedule, exhausting workload and a growing disconnect from their families.” (Almost makes me feel guilty for liking the end product.)
Suffice it to say we’ve got no guarantees right now of the band’s future. But for now, at least, we have great new music from The Civil Wars, with the promise of more to come. Some of the best art comes from pain, and it appears that for now, anyway, the duo is using pain to their advantage. Here’s hoping for better times, and many more great songs to come.