As we go to press tonight, the future of The Civil Wars is still very much up in the air. Back in November, the Grammy winning duo and You Oughta Know alumni abruptly canceled their planned slate of tour dates citing “internal discord and irreconcilable differences of ambition.” However, December brought a shimmer of good news when the band’s manager posted a photo to Instagram of the band in the studio working on new material. Our fingers and toes are beginning to cramp after having them crossed for the last few months in hopes that we haven’t heard the last of John Paul White and Joy Williams, and today brought The Civil Wars faithful some more good news.
Today marks the release of The Civil Wars: Unplugged On VH1, a 7-song album that was recorded last spring when the band performed a knockout VH1 Unplugged set (while, we might add, Joy was pregnant). For the low low price of just five American dollars and 99 American cents, you can get your hands on a copy of the video AND audio of this truly memorable entry in the famed Unplugged canon. In addition to originals like “Barton Hollow” and “I’ve Got This Friend,” the set includes remarkable covers of Portishead‘s “Sour Times” and Michael Jackson‘s “Billie Jean” (the latter of which did not air in the original special!).
A bit of sad news and a hopeful promise to begin your morning: You Oughta Know standouts, VH1 Unplugged veterans, Grammy winning and just generally beloved Americana duo, The Civil Wars, announced last night in a note posted to their Facebook page that they have called off the remainder of their tour. The duo cited “internal discord and irreconcilable differences of ambition” as the reason for the change of plans, but were sure to assure that whatever hiccup they’re suffering right now will not be their end: “Our sincere hope is to have new music for you in 2013,” they write, giving us reason to believe that things are civil still. They plan on reimbursing tickets, and have generously promised to “do their best” to cover any non-refundable service charges or travel reservations fans have already made.
Below, their note. And then a video of the duo performing “Barton Hollow” Unplugged — some sugar to down the sad news.
We’re beyond excited for you guys to watch VH1 Unplugged: Carrie Underwood, when it premieres right here on VH1 Tuner at 4 p.m. ET tomorrow afternoon; you’ll also be able to catch the episode on VH1 tomorrow night when it airs at 7 p.m. ET. We’ve already given you a sneak peek of the amazing set –if you missed Carrie’s tremendous cover of Coldplay’s “Fix You,” you should stop what you’re doing and watch it right now– and now we want to take you behind-the-scenes of the taping that occurred here in NYC back in August as part of our ongoing series, Music Seen.
Our ace photographer Lauren Weissler trailed Carrie as she prepared for and performed her five-song Unplugged set here in New York City back in August. Carrie’s radiant beauty and majestic voice was on full display all day, and we hope these pics help satiate your appetite for VH1 Unplugged: Carrie Underwood until tomorrow!
We’ve been struck by a bad case of Underwood fever over here at VH1, with her Behind The Music set to air this Sunday and her Unplugged ready to go live the week following, and the only thing that can fix us is this cool cover Carrie did of Coldplay‘s “Fix You.” Carrie and her crew learned the song while in London so that they could “pay tribute,” she said, becasue “they were so nice to welcome us there, and they have so much talent right there.” Carrie’s usual country twanging is as sonically distant to Coldplay’s arena rock balladry as Oklahoma is to London, but here she has managed to turn the song so that it sounds straight from her wheelhouse. Buoyed by strings and with her ever strong vocals promising to “guide us home and ignite our bones” left us chilled.
Be sure to tune-in when Behind The Music: Carrie Underwood premieres this Sunday, September 30 at 9/8c on VH1. And then check back next week when Carrie goes Unplugged on October 2 at 4pm ET on VH1.com and 7pm ET on-air on VH1.
Prepare to be blown away: Carrie Underwood has both a VH1 Unplugged and a VH1 Behind The Music on the way! The shiny but tough country babe broke the good news this morning on Big Morning Buzz Live. “I’m excited,” she gushed, before sharing that she’s a little nervous, too.
We love that big voice and bold attitude of hers and we are eager to see her shine when it’s stripped down on Unplugged. “It’s really cool to have it really be all about the songs and the music and to just get and go and sing,” she says. “It doesn’t need all the extra stuff sometimes.”
And as for sharing her story with Behind The Music, she’s laughed that, “I hope mine’s not seriously boring, because I’ve had such a wonderful life, and it just seems like everything has really happened … and now I get to do the most wonderful job ever.” Which is exactly how we know it won’t be boring! The run from American Idol winner to chart-topper and Grammy winner and everything before and beyond sounds exactly the opposite. We can’t wait!
Carrie tapes her stripped down set later this week in New York, and both Unplugged and Behind The Music will air sometime this fall. And if you check back here, we will keep you up to date with info and sneak peaks until then! Read more…
It’s probably only natural that a song about stripping down be stripped down. This VH1 Unplugged cover of the As Cruel as School Children cut finds the Gym Class Heroes getting “Clothes Off!” and having as good a time as ever. Travis McCoy goes hard into Travie mode as he raps his verses over the dancing strings, and Patrick Stump’s wailing at the chorus has us up out of our seats. When we spoke to Patrick Stump ahead of the tapping, he told us that “Clothes Off” is his favorite Heroes song because “it just happened” and that “when art happens by accident and you were just along for the ride? It’s way more fun.” We couldn’t agree more.
You can watch VH1 Unplugged: Gym Class Heroes in full online here now! You’ll be able to catch it on VH1 tonight at 12 a.m. ET/PT.
Earlier this afternoon we shared a sneak preview from Gym Class Heroes‘ VH1 Unplugged taping, where they were joined by their longtime collaborator and Fall Out Boy lead singer Patrick Stump for a stripped down version of their smash hit “Stereo Hearts.” Stump, although filling in on the song, felt right at home. “Gym Class is a band I am more directly involved with than any other band except for Fall Out Boy,” he told us before the show, laughing that “the shortest call in the world” was all it took to get him there.
As Stump tells it, Gym Class Heroes first caught his attention with a shout out on an early demo of the 2004 time-capsule “Taxi Driver.” “We were super tickled by it,” he explains. “Unfortunately, it is very rare that something makes you sit up and be like, ‘Wow, this is great!’ And I was in the van and I was like, Pete [Wentz], listen to this, this is really good. And so he took it and ran with it, and before we knew it they were singed.”
The honor, though, he insists is mutual. “You have no idea how much they made themselves and how awesome it is to watch them,” he told us, making sure to point out that this will be his first Unplugged appearance with be with them and not his own Fall Out Boy. “I get to be a fan that has the best seat in the house.”
Before the tapping, we caught up with Stump to get the scoop on his work with Gym Class Heroes, his impressions (musical and otherwise), and what comes next:
“I’ve actually been dying for this day,” Travie McCoy admitted before the Gym Class Heroes‘ Unplugged taping in New York City last month. “It gives us a chance to breathe new life into these songs as we strip them down, it’s very cool.” So down to acoustic guitars and brush sticks and strings they stripped for a catalog spanning set. And for their boombox-as-love anthem, “Stereo Hearts,” they stripped also Maroon 5’s Adam Levine, replacing his smooth crooning with — surprise! — Fall Out Boy lead singer Patrick Stump‘s singular, sweet wail. Read more…
After we whet your appetite yesterday with special sneak clips of “Kingdom Come” and “Sour Times,” the full episode of VH1 Unplugged: The Civil Wars is now available for you to watch online! (You can do so by clicking play above.)
The Civil Wars made history with their Unplugged show, as singer Joy Williams became the first artist in the 22-year history of the program to perform while pregnant. Of course, this reminded us of when M.I.A. sang on The Grammys back in 2009 while she was 9 months pregnant. So, naturally, we asked Joy (who is due in June) about it.
“Dude! M.I.A. on the Grammys was so amazing with that bullseye awesomeness and spandex!,” she explained (video below). “Well, I was going to wear that, but she totally bogarted the awesome spandex idea.”
“So I’m going to,” John Paul White jumped in. “A strategic bullseye.”
Well, dear readers, we can all be thankful that didn’t happen.
As The Civil Wars joked during the taping of their VH1 Unplugged set a few weeks back, they’re a duo that already performs “unplugged” most of the time, generally using an acoustic guitar or piano to deliver their songs. Knowing that, you wouldn’t necessarily think that the duo would gravitate towards performing a cover of a 1993 trip-hop classic, but once you hear their take on “Sour Times” (as originally performed by Portishead), you immediately understand how this fits into the band’s repetoire of seemingly offbeat covers.
“We’re lovers of all kinds of different music,” Joy Williams told us when we sat down with her before the show taped a few weeks back. “If we’re able to pick something out of the lexicon where we both go, ‘You listened to that, too?’, it’s really fun for us to say ‘Ok, what can we do with it as a duo?’ The lyrics themselves, to Portishead, I sat down to read them and they’re so mysterious. I still don’t even quite know what we’re actually singing about, but I’m kind of into it. It’s such a moody song!” (VIDEO BELOW.)