When our favorite musical ensembles disband, we do our best—at least we should try—not to choose sides or point any fingers, primarily, because we do not possess the whole truth.
We were never present during those long nights, the meticulous editing stages of a song or of full albums, those meetings where crucial decisions became tabled and clouded by disagreement, ego, or envy.
No, we were only the recipients of the final product—and whatever other aspects of the musicians’ relationship the media allowed us to see.
In 2014, the four-time Grammy Award-winning indie-folk duo The Civil Wars, also known as my favorite band of past, present, and future time, permanently disbanded (due to creative differences) after a two-year long hiatus. Both members, John Paul White and Joy Williams, released their final statements and left their followers with one parting gift: a melancholy rendition of the recognizable children’s song “You Are My Sunshine.”
To spare you the embarrassing details, I remember being a mix of physically ill and emotionally inconsolable for several weeks. I scoured the Internet for other musicians who might be able to soothe the emptiness I felt, but none came close to replacing the pained, haunting, and soulful melodies created by John Paul White and Joy Williams.
This past August, JPW released his first studio album since he and Williams split and it has left me in tears, yet feeling whole.
As you might be able to infer, I made a promise to myself to refrain from choosing sides post-breakup, and I certainly intend to keep that promise.
In lieu of my opinion, I’ve provided a live performance of one of my favorite songs off of JPW’s Beulah.
Beulah was produced by Single Lock Records, a recording company co-founded by JPW, and can be found on Spotify or for purchase here.