The Civil Wars have been living up to their namesake during these last few months. In November the duo announced an indefinite hiatus from touring due to “irreconcilable differences of ambition,” and now Joy Williams is facing some inner turmoil of her own.
While thrilled about the release of the group’s second self-titled album, the songstress is also in mourning for the loss of her musical partnership with band-mate John Paul White. “Nerves, excitement, curiosity, anticipation,” are just a few of the emotions she lists prior to the record hitting the streets on Tuesday. “I’d be lying, though, if I didn’t mention that it also feels bittersweet, too, what with where we find ourselves as a band right now. Still, I am so proud of this project, and really believe in what John Paul and I created. There’s a lot of heart and soul infused into this record.”
Williams describes the follow-up to their 2011 smash debut Barton Hallow as “harmony laced, genre-bending emotional roots music, best listened to with a glass of something tasty in your hand.” But despite the harmony on the tracks, she admits to the discord between them personally. “We still recorded together, in the same room, like we did on Barton Hollow. But the dynamic of creating had shifted since the last time we were in studio.” Yet the strained relations between the artists ended up aiding the creative process, producing something totally unexpected, unique and wonderful. “We didn’t have as much ease between us, so we had to really focus on communicating our ideas and working hard to finding middle ground. It took a lot of energy, honestly. We both have very different work styles, but I’d like to think that creative tension actually ended up serving the album well in the end. In my opinion, we created something even more raw and aching and real than anything we’ve done to date.”