It's been four months since the Civil Wars came to a close — not with a peaceful truce, but with a sad ceasefire prompted by problems that the duo wouldn't announce (and couldn't resolve) — and bandmate Joy Williams has a found a new duet partner… even if it's just for one song.
Williams recently teamed up with Paramore's powerhouse vocalist, Hayley Williams, for a harmony-heavy version of "Hate to See Your Heartbreak." Originally released on Paramore's self-titled album in 2013, the power ballad was re-recorded earlier this year at the Village in Santa Monica, California, where groups such as the Eagles, the Beach Boys and Fleetwood Mac once tracked their own harmonies. The revised version hits shelves today as a bonus track on Paramore's deluxe release. [Watch the pair's studio performance of the song above.]
Although the two aren't related, Joy and Hayley certainly sing like sisters, their voices rising and falling in parallel lines. The two Tennessee residents have been friends for more than a decade, with Joy acting as a sort of mentor to Hayley during her pre-Paramore days. Although Hayley recently told NPR that the pair's tag-teamed version of "Hate to See Your Heartbreak" is meant to be an ode to the "close friendship between women who share their stories with each other, and who lift each other up and understand one another," the song also functions as a sort of farewell letter to Joy's former duo partner, John Paul White. When she joins Hayley during the final line of the bridge — "Let the pain remind you hearts can heal" — Joy could very well be singing to the estranged bandmate who, during the course of four whirlwind years, helped her create some of the best-selling folk music of the 21st century.
Meanwhile, Joy Williams has been revving up her solo career. A popular Christian artist during her teens and early twenties, she later transformed herself into a folk-pop singer-songwriter, releasing a string of independent EPs before meeting White and tackling a more rootsy, Southern sound with the Civil Wars. Representatives from her camp have been tight-lipped about the direction of Joy's newest material, but they did announce that her album will be released during the first half of 2015.