Although the Civil Wars are still on indefinite hiatus amid “internal discord and irreconcilable differences of ambition,” which caused the abrupt cancelation of an entire tour last fall, the Grammy-winning folk-pop duo is making good on its promise to release new music in 2013. Today, in a post on their website, singers Joy Williams and John Paul White announced that The Civil Wars, the follow-up to their acclaimed 2011’s debut Barton Hollow, will arrive at an unspecified date late this summer.
The bittersweet news might frustrate fans who hope the album won’t be a posthumous release, as a pair of ambiguous, handwritten personal statements left by Williams and White make no mention of a reconciliation or future touring, but rather thank fans for waiting.
“Patience is a virtue,” White wrote. “Yours has been appreciated. Here’s to the hope you consider it rewarded.”
Williams echoed that sentiment in her correspondence.
“I’m grateful for your patient support,” she wrote. “I am very glad to say that new music is coming and I am finally proud of this album. A lot of soul, sweat and tears went into its creation. I hope you feel the heart in each song, that it might connect with yours. We are, each one of us, all journeying, learning and growing along this ever-evolving path.”
Further compounding the ambiguity, the album’s grimly austere cover art is a black-and-white photo depicting a towering plume of billowing smoke, perhaps suggesting the rising Americana stars’ sudden crash-and-burn.
Before taking leave of the road, the duo took home Grammys for Best Country Duo/Group and Best Folk Album for their gold-certified debut in 2012. They also earned the support of champions including Adele – who took the duo on tour in 2011 – and Taylor Swift, who collaborated with them on the Grammy-winning Hunger Games soundtrack hit “Safe and Sound.”
In January, the duo released an Unplugged session on iTunes. And in February, collaborations they cut in 2011 with Hunger Games producer T Bone Burnett appeared on the soundtrack to the philanthropic documentary A Place at the Table, which tackles the issue of hunger in America.