The Civil Wars is a duo composed of singer-songwriters Joy Williams and John Paul White. The two met during a Nashville, Tennessee songwriting session in 2008. After releasing a live performance album and a four song EP, their full-length album, Barton Hollow, was released in 2011. The band won the Grammy Award for Best Country Duo/Group Performance and Best Folk Album in 2012. The duo went on a hiatus in November 2012.
Williams and White met in 2008 during a song writing session or "writing camp" at a music studio in Nashville, Tennessee. In an exclusive interview, Williams stated that the band name was generated, "As I was driving around town looking at all the Civil War monuments I thought about all the wars that we each face. So the name came about that way." According to their web site, the group's name, The Civil Wars, and their song "Poison and Wine", sum up their thematic direction. They are about the good, the bad, and the ugly of relationships.
The duo recorded their performance at Eddie's Attic in Decatur, Georgia on April 8, 2009 and created an EP Live at Eddie's Attic, which had been requested over 500,000 times as a free internet download. In November, the duo released a digital extended play album, produced by Charlie Peacock, called Poison & Wine and the title song was featured on the TV show, Grey's Anatomy. In December 2010, the duo was featured in Paste's "Best of What's Next" column.
On Feb 1, 2011, The Civil Wars released their debut full length album, Barton Hollow. The album reached No. 12 on the Billboard 200 chart and No. 1 on the Billboard Digital Albums chart, sold 25,000 copies in its first week and remained at No. 1 on the iTunes chart for nine days.