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In 2008 Joy Williams and John Paul White, two singer/songwriters met at a Nashville, Tennessee songwriting session. The result would be a provocative collaboration called The Civil Wars, a country-folk/pop duo that won the adoration of high-profile fans such as Adele and Emmylou Harris. "As soon as we started to sing together it was like we'd been doing it for generations," recalled White in an interview for the U.K.'s The Guardian. "Like our parents had been doing it and their parents had, like a brother-sister thing, from the womb to where there was this subconscious thing that meant we didn't have to say anything."
In an interview, Williams states that the band name came from "driving around town looking at all the Civil War monuments I thought about all the wars that we each face. So the name came about that way." Certainly, the challenges, trials, and heartaches of relationships figure prominently into many of their songs, taking on a thematic bent that echoes the impacts of struggle the band's name implies.
Their critically successful 2011 album, Barton Hollow, paved the way for a host of collaborations and new projects for the indie country duo. Their songs have been featured on hit shows like Grey's Anatomy, Nashville, and on the Hunger Games soundtrack;they worked with noted country super-star producer T-Bone Burnett to score the documentary, A Place at the Table; and Williams and White even took the Civil Wars to the White House to perform at the Ford's Theatre Gala honoring Morgan Freeman and Elie Wiesel.
Following Barton Hollow, the Civil Wars return to the recording studio to release their self-titled disc The Civil Wars. The album comes at a bitter sweet time for the Wars, their aching and haunting melodies were perhaps the subconscious backdrop for their own personal discord within the group, foreshadowing the band's break-up just shy of the album's release.
While we may not know the future of the Civil Wars, we can enjoy their fine musical talents in the here and now. Check out "The One That Got Away" and be sure to visit all the tunes on our I AM THAT GIRL's Music Monday playlist, updated each week!