New Thing #224: The Civil Wars

A little more than a week ago my brother tweeted the following: Matt_Tweet

That sounded pretty powerful, so I made a mental note to check out The Civil Wars.

Turned out, although I didn't realize it at the time, I had skimmed an article about the band in the Sunday New York Times just before that tweet.

I did some more reading on them and listened to some of their music and decided they were definitely worth a Music Monday write-up.

The reason The Civil Wars were written about in the Times is that they released a new album - their second, following up on a very successful debut album.

But here's the catch: The duo - Joy Williams and John Paul White - haven't been on speaking terms since canceling a tour in November, after they recorded the album in September.

So the album is now out, there will be no tour to promote it, and the folk duo's future is in serious doubt.

I'm glad I'm not a huge fan, because that is the type of thing I would find immensely frustrating.

It sounds like there's a pretty passionate fan base that's now left hanging.

I listened to the two songs my brother mentioned. I listened to Safe and Sound, a song The Civil Wars did with Taylor Swift for the soundtrack of The Hunger Games. I watched a couple of live performances on YouTube.

There's a definite chemistry you can feel between the two during those live performances. And I like the music...though you know me, I prefer my songs a little more upbeat.

If you want to read a little more about the turmoil, Rolling Stone also wrote about the new album and talked about the rift - from Williams' perspective, since White isn't talking about it, I guess.

I'm sure there's a lot of speculation about why they're having the "internal discord and irreconcilable differences of ambition" they referred to in the statement they put out in November. (I've known of the band for less than a week and I could offer a theory or two.)

And I'm sure this has been said, and I'm sure it's trite, but I'm new to the game, so I'll offer this: wouldn't you think a duo calling themselves The Civil Wars was destined for this type of split?

Maybe they should have gone with "International Incident" or something like that.

(OK. Turns out NPR used a play on the band's name in this interview with Williams which offers a little more insight into their situation. Thanks to my brother for sending that along.)