Friday, March 27, 2015

Artist Spotlight

I'm a little late to the party on today's music. I have a running list of artists to spotlight and was putting together a playlist when I came across The Civil Wars' cover of Billie Jean. Dueces to the other playlist (at least for this week)!! Then, I found out the band was no longer together. Because of the breakup, I went back and forth about spotlighting them. Then, I said screw it. The music is beautiful and deserving of a bright, sparkling spotlight.

Joy Williams released her debut solo album in 2001 and has released four more solo albums and four EPs since then. John Paul White released his first album in 2008. The two met at a writing camp in Nashville and they formed The Civil Wars in 2009. Their debut album, Barton Hollow dropped in 2011 and won four Grammys. The band went on hiatus in late 2012 based on "internal discord and irreconcilable differences of ambition." In 2013, the band's self-titled album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 but there was never a tour or much press for the album. Sadly, the band split last summer (August 2014) after releasing a final song--a cover of You Are My Sunshine (as an aside, I never knew such a chipper, childhood song could be so heartbreakingly beautiful).

Though they aren't together, the music lives on as new people discover it every day. Joy is continuing to collaborate with artists like Hayley Williams (Paramore), Chris Cornell (Soundgarden and formerly, Audioslave) l and Matt Berninger (The National). John Paul is helping run Single Lock Records, which he formed with Ben Tanner (Alabama Shakes) in 2013. Since The Civil Wars split, he's been busy with production but hasn't eliminated the possibility of putting out new music of his own. Whatever these two decide to do, I'm here for it.

Here is a full length concert The Civil Wars put on in New Orleans in July, 2012. The Billie Jean cover is at 1:02:05 and You Are My Sunshine is at 18:30 (back story at 18:02).

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