Ending months of speculation about their uncertain future, Joy Williams and John Paul White, the Grammy-winning duo better known as the Civil Wars, have announced that their musical partnership has officially come to an end. On indefinite hiatus since late 2012, the pair released a statement Tuesday, in which Williams says, “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 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,” adds White. “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.”
The reason for the duo’s breakup is one of the best-kept secrets in contemporary music history. It was exactly a year ago today that Williams told Rolling Stone the two were not on speaking terms, but wouldn’t pinpoint the cause of the split. Still, she was hopeful for a reconciliation. “If John Paul and I can find a place to meet in the middle, I believe that there could be a future for the band,” she said. “I would be open to having a dialogue; I would be open to trying to mend the bridges that I think we both burned…. It takes two.”
To thank fans for their support, the now-defunct Civil Wars are offering a download of their 2010 recording of “You Are My Sunshine.” Originally issued in 2011 as the B-side to the limited edition 7-inch vinyl of the band’s “Barton Hollow” single, this marks the first time the song has been available digitally in the U.S. Barton Hollow won the 2012 Grammy for Best Country Vocal Duo/Group Performance.
White and Williams first met at a Nashville songwriting camp in 2008. In 2013, they released their second full-length album. That self-titled effort earned them their fourth Grammy award.