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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Civil Wars on Hiatus, Release Album Anyway

Written by Jon Williams

On Tuesday, the Civil Wars released their sophomore album, the self-titled The Civil Wars, despite the duo being on indefinite hiatus.

Singer-songwriters Joy Williams and John Paul White were both working on solo careers when they met at a writing session in 2008 and decided to pair up. After two digital EPs were released online, their full-length album debut Barton Hollow came out in February of 2011. The album was given a boost by the single “Poison and Wine,” which appeared on the hit TV show Grey’s Anatomy, and yet another boost when country superstar Taylor Swift announced her love for their music. Riding this wave of support, the album won two Grammy Awards, for Best Folk Album and Best Performance by a Country Duo/Group.

Williams and White struck up a friendship with Swift, and the three of them recorded a single, “Safe and Sound,” that appeared on the soundtrack for The Hunger Games, along with another Civil Wars tune. With a great deal of critical and commercial success, the duo seemed to be on top of the music world. In November of 2012, though, they announced their hiatus. It was during the period leading up to this announcement that they recorded their second album.

While undoubtedly difficult, it’s not exactly uncommon for bands to record together during times of internal turmoil. The stories are legendary, for instance, of the discord among the members of the Beatles as they recorded such work as the White Album and Abbey Road, some of their finest work. Here are a few other bands nearly as famous for their internal strife as they are for their music.

The Beach Boys: Primary members Brian Wilson, Mike Love, and Al Jardine have been feuding off and on (mostly on) for decades. In 2012 they got together for a reunion tour and a new album, That’s Why God Made the Radio; the future of the legendary band is up in the air.

Guns N’ Roses: To an outsider, it would appear as though lead singer Axl Rose isn’t exactly the easiest guy in the world to get along with. After the tension between Rose and guitarist Slash finally dissolved the band’s most well-known version, it would take fifteen years and a number of lineup changes before Chinese Democracy was finally unleashed on the world in 2008.

Van Halen: The band was named after brothers Eddie and Alex Van Halen, the band’s guitarist and drummer, but in the beginning most of the attention was focused on flashy frontman David Lee Roth. This caused friction that led to Roth being replaced with Sammy Hagar in 1985. After Hagar quit/was fired in 1996, the band went through singer turmoil for years before eventually reuniting with Roth for A Different Kind of Truth in 2012. In the meantime, they also picked up another Van Halen, firing original bassist Michael Anthony and replacing him with Eddie’s son Wolfgang.

Oasis: Unlike Van Halen, in which a pair of brothers stood united as they formed and reformed the rest of the band around them, the conflict in Oasis was between a pair of brothers. Singer Liam Gallagher and guitarist Noel Gallagher had a history of being unable to get along, sometimes to the point of violence. It reached a head in 2009, when Noel left the band and formed Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, while Liam and the rest of the band stayed together under the moniker Beady Eye.

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