With four GRAMMY Awards and a tumultuous history under its belt, the infamously estranged folk duo The Civil Wars has officially broken up.
This shouldn’t be surprising, given that the band went on an indefinite hiatus in 2012 (mid-tour, no less). When it released its eponymous third album, Joy Williams and John Paul White didn’t tour. They weren’t even speaking at the time. A band’s name has never been so telling. Neither has its last song. The band digitally released–perhaps ironically, perhaps not–a free cover of “You Are My Sunshine” as a thank you.
The duo, together since 2009, was fond of sorrowful dirges and antebellum folk. Read their statement and listen to a parting song below.
The Civil Wars—made up of duo partners Joy Williams and John Paul White—have regretfully decided to permanently part ways. The difficult decision ends a tumultuous period for the four-time Grammy Award-winning band, who has been on indefinite hiatus since late 2012. As a thank you gift and farewell, the band is offering a download of their rendition of “You Are My Sunshine.” Recorded in 2010, the track was originally released in 2011 as a b-side to the band’s limited edition Barton Hollow 7” vinyl. This is the first time the song has been available digitally in the U.S. Both Joy and John Paul have added their personal words on disbanding here below.
Joy Williams comments, “I am saddened and disappointed by the ending of this duo, to say the very least. JP is a tremendous musician, and I will always be grateful for the music we were able to create together. I sincerely hope that ‘You Are My Sunshine’ will be accepted as a token of my gratitude for every single person that has supported our duo throughout the years. I’m so thankful and my heart is full. Looking ahead, I’m excited to share the music that I am writing and recording in the midst of this difficult transition. I’ve loved being back in the studio, and have missed performing live. I look forward to seeing you soon.”
John Paul adds, “I would like to express sincere thanks to all who were a part of the arc of The Civil Wars—from the beginning, to the end, and all points in between. My deep appreciation goes out to all who supported, disseminated, and enjoyed the music. Whatever shape or form the next chapter takes, thanks for being a large part of this one.”