Joy Williams talks about the state of The Civil Wars and John Paul White

By Daniel S Levine,

Usually when a Grammy-winning group makes a return to the scene with their sophomore release, there is plenty of fanfare surrounding the release. Critics are asking if it can hold up to the success of their first record and new fans head out to see the group on tour. But none of that is happening for The Civil Wars, who released their self-titled second album last month. Only Joy Williams is doing any press appearances for the record and there might be no tour. In fact, Williams said that she hasn’t even spoken to bandmate John Paul White since making the album last fall.

In November, the group canceled their European tour, citing “internal discord and irreconcilable differences of ambition.” But then they announced The Civil Wars in May, a collection of songs they recorded in two weeks in September.

In an interview with Rolling Stone, Williams said that she never knows how to answer the question “Are we going to tour?” Williams said, “I wish I knew the answer to that. I don’t think that it’s never going to happen, it’s just I don't know if it’s going to happen right now.”

Williams made similar statements to Entertainment Weekly, noting that it’s “difficult” that the band’s problems are the topic of conversation, not their music. She also said that she’s not speaking for White while doing interviews, just herself.

“I would never speak for John Paul. I think that that would be disrespectful,” Williams said. “I respect John Paul, and I respect the fact that he’s home with his family right now. Certain days it feels really difficult to be the only one talking about the album, but the reality is, neither one of us would have put this album out if we didn’t believe in the caliber of the music.”

When EW asked if she recognized how people were linking the group’s name with their current situation, she said, “Yeah, I can’t say that it makes me laugh because this has been such a hard, painful season of my life.” She said that it is not a marketing ploy, adding, “There would be a dozen other ways to market this album that are far less complicated, but the reality is that John Paul and I are not on speaking terms right now, and that’s not contrived, and that makes me really sad.”

Rolling Stone asked if there’s any possibility that they make a third album. Williams sounded hopeful. “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 told the magazine. “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.”

You can check out our review of The Civil Wars here.

image: Amazon

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