Welcome to In My Ear, a weekly series that features a song so good, I can't help but share it with you!
I'm beginning this new series strong, with a recent release from a band you've probably heard of.
Oh yah. I'm talking about The Civil Wars, y'all. Click the music player below for a listen to their latest single, "The One that Got Away":
It was about time we heard from the duo Adele famously described as "the best live band I've ever seen." If you're familiar with The Civil Wars, then you probably know that the last few months have been laced with speculation about their future. Cancelled tour dates and a public statement citing "irreconcilable differences" have raised questions about the future of the group, and the magic that brought them together in the first place.
According to a new interview with Joy Williams, things aren't exactly patched up between her and John Paul White, but fans (like me) are still on the edge of their seats for TCW's next album, set to release on August 6th.
When I really like an artist, I'm in it for better or for worse, for international tours or house shows. In fact, I take a little pride that long before Joy met John, I was listening to her solo-artist CDs in my blue Sony boombox and rushing to the front when she'd take the stage at Christian music festivals. Even way back then, she stood out from her counterparts as a creative writer and a captivating singer.
I sent her a message a few years ago as she was getting ready to release a couple EPs (Which are actually a lovely little summer soundtrack! You can find them here and here). I'm not the type to make myself known in front of musicians I admire-I can barely stand to ask for an autograph-but I reached out because I wanted her to know that while her sound evolved, she had fans who were sticking with her music and excited for whatever was next.
I was shocked when she replied, with gratitude and also with stories from her experiences in the Christian music genre. Did you know a record company can negotiate a performer's hair color?!? I didn't, until Joy told me it was one of many reasons why she had to walk away. Imagine being contracted to stay blonde. Yikes. No wonder she's rocking raven black hair these days.
The evolution of an artist is a curious thing. Joy's role as half of The Civil Wars has brought her vocal ability, writing talent, and performance to a global stage. And yet, I was almost relieved when the news came of their "break-up." Say what you want about TCW's chemistry on stage, or the fact that both were married to other people, but the truth is this: they toured, collaborated, and performed incessantly, even up to the final months of Joy's first pregnancy. That would mean exhaustion for anyone, much less a duo struggling with "internal discord". Perhaps success comes with a price tag that can only be paid with time away from your craft.
The story of The Civil Wars is complex, and some people want to draw lines in the sand, saying this or that led to the current division between Joy and John Paul. But for me, it's simple: I'm anxiously awaiting new music from a group that I love. "The One that Got Away" reveals the same emotive power and bluesy sound that fans have come to expect from TCW, but with an edge that's only touched upon on their first album, Barton Hallow. It seems they have some new stories to tell, and luckily, they're using those same haunting melodies to tell it. I think we'll be blown away by what we hear.
And for those for whom music alone isn't enough to garner fan-ship, for those who still have questions about what happened, it seems this forthcoming album will be the surest way to find answers. Joy said it herself at the end of the New York Times interview: "If you want to know what happened to the band, listen to the album."
So, now that you've had a listen, what do you think of the new single? And if you're already a CW fan, are you looking forward to the new album-in spite of the band drama? I'd love to hear your thoughts below!
Stay tuned next week for a new In My Ear, featuring a perfect summer song I think you'll love!