Following their success at this year’s Grammys, double-act The Civil Wars chat to MM about their ‘surreal’ wins, life on the road with Adele and their return to Manchester in March.
Joy Williams and John Paul White sparked a connection after meeting in America’s country and folk epicentre: Nashville, Tennessee. With such an irrefutable ingredient included in the mix, the pair was destined for success on the back of their exceptional debut four-song EP Poison & Wine. And in 2011, success was everywhere for The Civil Wars.
Having reached No. 1 on the Billboard Digital Album Chart with their terrific debut album Barton Hollow, the enigmatic duo completed live performances on The Tonight Show, The Late Show with David Letterman and Later…Live with Jools Holland. The album also reached ‘Best Album of 2011’ status from iTunes, Time Magazine and Amazon.com.
Rounding off a truly magnificent year, one which they described as ‘the hardest work we’ve ever done’, the California-cum-Tennessee twosome won Grammys for Best Folk Album and Best Country Duo/Group Performance.
In an interview with MM, an endearing John Paul and Joy described their achievements at the Grammys as dreamlike.
“It feels completely surreal to be honest. There were points when we thought did that actually happen?
“We never anticipated any kind of nomination or assumed that a win would ever be a given. To us, these wins are very, very sweet.”
The perfect partnership between the two shines through in their interview; they are humble, diligent and more importantly they are grounded. An unthinkable year was capped off in tremendous style as The Civil Wars promised to jump back in and do it all again in 2012.
“We love what we do. I think you have to work harder than you used to do and if anything, winning these Grammys kind of validates that and puts a little exclamation mark on the end of a year, which consisted of probably the hardest work we’ve ever put in as artists. It makes it feel like it was all worth it.”
Eight-time Grammy winner Adele had the folk-rockers open up for crowds during her UK tour, something which may have proved useful in dominating the awards ceremony. The Civil Wars paid thanks to the 23-year-old for her support and stated ‘we have nothing but great things to say about Miss Adele’.
“It was an absolute joy travelling with Adele, just being able to hear her every night was a gift alone and getting to know her was even better than that. I don’t think we could say better things about the tour or her, we love her!”
After listening to their debut album Barton Hollow, it’s immediately evident how talented the pair are. For a debut album, it’s simply heroic. As flavours of blues-rock, country and deep south intertwine and flow harmoniously alongside, Joy and John Paul’s writing is more inspiring than artists who have been doing the same for decades.
It seems the duo have labelled 2012 as limitless, aiming for global popularity and a (somehow) better year than the last.
“We’re definitely excited to dive in headfirst to continue on with the ripple effect. We love what we’re doing. Some people might wonder if after a year of promoting Barton Hallow we’re ready to move on, and though we’ve written new songs we’re still very passionate about Barton Hallow. Still love playing them and performing them every night.”
Manchester will host the in demand DIYers on March 16, as a night of dedication to entertain and passion to please will be brought by the return of The Civil Wars. Only this time they will take centre stage in a headline slot.
“We’re really looking forward to returning to Manchester, it’s a whole different experience coming as a headliner and the crowd being there for you.
“It’s a beautiful thing to play to a room full of people who want to be there because of your music. There’s few greater things. We never take that for granted and each city brings something different to the table and we just love being over there with the sense of history and architecture.”
The night is set to be one of the city’s 2012 musical highlights and with an ever increasing ambition list, John Paul and Joy joked that the future may be a fruitful one.
John Paul jested: “I hope that the future holds platinum. I hope that the future sees this little band having Adele opening for us.
“You stop it!” yells Joy. “I don’t know how much better it can get, it’s perfect. We’re very fortunate that in the past year we’ve had many great things happen for us.”
Charming. Amiable. Unmissible.