After witnessing a breathtaking performance from The Civil Wars last week, we were lucky enough to grab 10 minutes with the pair to get to know the masterminds behind this astonishing collaboration.
The Early years
Joy Williams and John Paul White’s music has come about from a combination of their unique attributes that they developed during the time they spent as solo musicians.
Both come from humble backgrounds in the US, and their roots have provided each of them with a variety of musical influences, which has resulted in the band producing a unique and utterly appealing sound.
Joy was raised in California’s pop-state and John Paul in the heart of the soulful South of Alabama, which makes it surprising that the pair ever managed to form.
Disregarding their geographical differences, their upbringings appear to be the duos charm and allure.
The music that has been produced has offered new challenges to the pair which is something that they have welcomed.
“We make music that we never would be able to make alone, which is pretty awesome,” said John Paul.
John Paul went to explain that he grew up listening to music from Johnny Cash and drew inspiration from soul records and southern rock, whereas Joy was more pop-orientated and the sounds of Billy Holiday and The Beach Boys proved influential for her.
Even with this vast difference in musical taste, Joy and John Paul were introduced at a song camp and formed an immediate bond, with John Paul commenting on their collaboration as: “worlds colliding.”
He explained that their dissimilarity in music works for them, adding: “Every great collaboration needs that element.”
Their first feature-length album, Barton Hollow, soon became the topic of conversation as some of its material will be performed on tomorrow’s The Jools Holland show.
All of the band’s material provides a melodic combination of John Paul’s perfectly struck chords and Joy’s velvet voice; therefore, the album is set to be a sure-fire hit.
Their pride in their work is not without reason and when the subject of the album was broached, John Paul noted: “We’re probably the happiest we’ve ever been as artists and that’s a pretty amazing thing to say.”
Joy agreeing, added: “Growing gradually and organically has become a dream come true.”
The Nashville-Cali blend has been labelled one of the best live acts around by superstar Adele and the band even supported Adele on her recent UK tour.
It is no secret that the pair are rather chummy with the star after meeting in America and, using their musical talents as an adhesive, developed a good friendship.
Joy humorously confessed that her and Adele share matching tattoos, of what, who knows!
However, the duo remains aware that the opportunity to support such a highly acclaimed artist is something that they do not take lightly; with John Paul explaining that it was a great honour.
Spreading their wings
The American duo are in popular demand since crossing the pond, wowing crowds across the UK and showing no signs of slowing down.
The Civil Wars headlined their first gig in Manchester on Monday night before travelling to London to perform the Union Chapel.
Joy and John Paul will conclude their visit on Tuesday night as guests on the Jools Holland show before hot-footing it back to the U.S.
The show continuously offers up and coming artists the chance to showcase their talents to the world and the opportunity to appear on such a potentially lucrative stage is something that the pair are extremely excited about.
“We’re freaking out, we are huge fans of the show, said John Paul.
“We realise the impact it can have on our career, it’s a dream come true; it’s something we have always wanted to do.”
It’s been a busy time for The Civil Wars and they couldn’t be more excited about the prospects of their future in the industry.
“We’ve been working for years, both individually and as a group, and to see the momentum gather is a dream come true.” said Joy.
“We truly love all that we do, we’re happier than ever at the minute in our careers.” added John Paul.
The band have received a great reception since swapping the familiarity of the states with the UK following their performances in Manchester and London, Joy said: “We’ve fallen in love with England all over again with this tour.”
Speaking on their Manchester gig the pair were delighted with the reception they received, which was much deserved, and are relishing the prospect of returning to the North West, with Joy declaring their love for Manchester.
“It’s proven that we definitely need to come back,” said John Paul.
John Paul went on to explain that the very warm welcome in London added to their desire to spread their music to foreign lands, in particularly the UK.
“We really want to cultivate a following over here,” he said.
“Our goal is not just to focus on the states.”
With taking their music to different spectrums of the world they are prepared for the variety of reactions they may receive and John Paul declared that the pair have a refreshing take on their potential stardom.
“We made a pact that if we were not enjoying it anymore we would not do it,” said John Paul.
The duo expressed their desire to keep producing their own style of music and have outlined their plans to continue travelling to advertise their music to pastures new.
“We want to stay true to our beliefs and our ambition is to keep making fresh music.” said John Paul.
Joy added: “The plan is to continue touring, revisit the UK in spring and to travel to Europe too.”
With Adele singing their praises and a big televised appearance to look forward to the future looks bright for The Civil Wars, and who could begrudge these refreshing artists any success that comes their way.
We wish them all best, and look forward to seeing them on their next visit.