As the Civil Wars, Joy Williams and John Paul White share an easy charm that has won over audiences in a big way. Often spare and rooted in folk and country, their music is the kind of Americana elixir that goes down awfully smooth. So smooth that Adele took them on the road a few years ago, and Taylor Swift recorded a duet with them. They were a hit with both artists’ fans, too. Grammy Awards and an appearance at the Newport Folk Festival ensued.
On the Civil Wars’ new self-titled album, their sophomore release, they take a new direction borne out of growing pains. The record follows a statement from the duo late last year in which they canceled a tour, citing “internal discord and irreconcilable differences of ambition.” It’s still not clear what their status is; Williams recently told USA Today that they’re essentially on hiatus.