Tips 2012: The Civil Wars

Next up under the TMF steely gaze is Nashville duo The Civil Wars, who've probably already won a fair few UK hearts after their brilliant performance back in October on Jools Holland (check it out below, if you haven't seen it). With their debut album Barton Hollow all ready to go - it debuted at No.1 on the Billboard digital albums chart on its release Stateside - we carried out a transatlantic conversation with the folk duo, Joy Williams and John Paul White, to see what surprises they've got in store for us in 2012.

Can you tell us a little bit about how you got into music?

Joy: I grew up with music being sung in my house often. My mother was raised in a singing family, so I have many memories of learning how to harmonise from her in our home. I was also raised as a kid in church, and cut my teeth initially that way.

JP: My dad was a big country music fan. Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, that sort of thing. My friends turned me onto the glory of Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin. I ended up somewhere in between.

Who are your influences?

Joy: Billie Holliday, Ella Fitzgerald, Etta James, The Beach Boys, The Carpenters, Joni Mitchell, the list could go on and on and on...

JP: The aforementioned, along with Elliott Smith, The Band, Tony Rice, and many more.

Your debut album has already made an appearance in UK charts following your Jools Holland performance however, for those who haven’t heard it, what can we expect from it?

JP: It's a bit of a minimalistic record, without meaning to be. We always perform alone with a guitar, so that's how we tracked the record. We were used to that setup, so any new colors that were added had to fit perfectly. Or we'd just leave it out. Our varied influences have somewhat intertwined to form the hodgepodge that is The Civil Wars.

You’ve received the ASCAP Vanguard Award and opened for Emmylou Harris, but what ranks as your career highlight so far??

Joy: Honestly, playing Jools was a major pipe dream of ours. Touring with the lovely & talented Adele was always a high light. There have been many markers along this journey so far that we would rank as dreams come true, though...

Who will you be watching in 2012?

Joy: Gotye, Daughter, The Staves, Milo Greene, Benjamin Francis Leftwich, Lana Del Rey.

JP: Hopefully my kids. Dad's been gone quite awhile...

What are you hoping 2012 will hold for you?

Joy: More sweet surprises.

JP: Platinum.

The Civil Wars' debut album Barton Hollow will be released in the UK in early 2012. Find out more about them at their official site -

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