12 Nov 2012
The breakup of a band can be one of the most devastating things in a music lovers life. I’ve seen so many people talk with such a sparkle in their eye about a group and then scratch their head awkwardly and sadly say ‘man, they broke up and it broke my heart, I wish so much they’d make another album’. It’s like they’re telling me their parents got divorced.
I’m a writer, so I’m quite solitary in my creative process. I can’t even imagine what it’s like to collaborate as a group in such a sensitive, intimate way with multiple other people, and throw the possible clash of personalities into it as well. Being in a band seems to be such a precarious balancing act that has led so many stellar groups to disband from one another.
My most recent band broken heart comes from a duet I’ve been obsessed with all year. I can’t really confirm they’ve broken up, but they did release a statement recently that stated they had to cancel their tour right in the middle of it ‘due to internal discord and irreconcilable differences in ambition’. I’m still crossing my fingers over here that they’ll be fine, but that doesn’t sound good to me.
The Civil Wars are comprised of two singer songwriters who met at a songwriting session in Nashville, Joy Williams and John Paul White. They’re not a couple, but watching them sing will make you question it; I was shocked to find out they were both married, to other people. They remind me of new-age Johnny and June Carter Cash. Seeing them perform for the first time was a voyeuristic experience, they’re very intimate performers and I felt like I walked in on a couple singing to each other at home.
They exploded onto the singer-songwriter scene last year, and it’s not hard to see why. Their album is masterful: every song has a different flavor to it, but they all have bare-bones arrangements with gorgeous back-and-forth vocals. And speaking of beauty, try not to get too lost in the stunning beauty of these two; I know I did. When I told my boyfriend I had chosen The Civil Wars for music monday, he said ‘don’t go writing a whole column about how good looking you think that dude is’ (doesn’t he look like a sexy Jonny Depp, the kind that writes songs about fireflies on back porches?!?!)
Physical beauty aside , these two are natural together in a way that doesn’t happen often. Anyone who has ever been single can tell you: Chemistry is tough. It’s hard to find someone you click with, and I imagine it’s the same with playing music. So this column is doubling as a public prayer that these two will be fine. Sometimes it’s not worth making a relationship work that just isn’t; No matter how much you want it to, you can’t force it. But I hope after hearing the magic of these two play, you’ll join me in wishing these two work it on out.