The Civil Wars: A Song Of Loyalty, Before It's Tested Joy Williams and John Paul White have built a sound in which warmth seeps out of every note. The pair recently announced a hiatus, but before that, they performed this live version of "Kingdom Come."

Field Recordings

The Civil Wars: A Song Of Loyalty, Before It's TestedKEXP

Joy Williams and John Paul White call their Grammy-winning band The Civil Wars, but the two have built a gentle, harmony-rich folk-pop sound in which warm chemistry more than counteracts the tension under the music's surface. Though not a couple themselves — each is married, and Williams just had a baby — they convey many hallmarks of a loving union, particularly in the way she stares at him sweetly as they sing.

As most Civil Wars fans know by now, Williams and White recently announced that they've canceled all of their current tour dates in response to "internal discord and irreconcilable differences of ambition." This, naturally, has fueled talk of a breakup — the assurance that "our sincere hope is to have new music for you in 2013" doesn't specify whether that music would be made together or separately — which is a pretty crummy development for one of the most amiably appealing (not to mention best-selling) new bands to pop up in ages.

Recorded in presumably happier times — during the Sasquatch! Music Festival in George, Wash., this past summer — this Field Recording captures the pair amid backstage grapevines as they sing beautifully between gusts of wind. In a bit of sad irony, the song they play ("Kingdom Come") is a reassuring ode to loyalty in hard times: "Don't you fret, my dear / It'll all be over soon," they sing in unison. "I'll be waiting here / For you."

Here's hoping.

Credits

Producers: Mito Habe-Evans, Saidah Blount; Videographers: Jim Beckmann, Mito Habe-Evans, Scott Holpainen; Audio Engineers: Matt Ogaz, Kevin Wait; Production Assistant: Nick Michael; Special Thanks to Sasquatch! Music Festival, Live Nation; Executive Producers: Anya Grundmann, Keith Jenkins.

[+] read more[-] less

More From Rock

Theodore performs a Tiny Desk Concert on March 27, 2019 (Amr Alfiky/NPR). Amr Alfiky/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Amr Alfiky/NPR

Theodore

The music of Theodore is dark and transformative, with the kind of spare elegance you can hear in Sigur Rós or Pink Floyd.

Gary Clark Jr. performs a Tiny Desk Concert on April 1, 2019 (Amr Alfiky/NPR). Amr Alfiky/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Amr Alfiky/NPR

Gary Clark Jr.

These three songs, from Clark's incendiary new album This Land, roar with the assurance and force of a showman at the top of his game.

Weezer performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Feb. 27, 2019 (Amr Alfiky/NPR). Amr Alfiky/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Amr Alfiky/NPR

Weezer

Performing unplugged, the band forgoes its usual meticulousness in favor of a shaggy, entirely acoustic mix of new songs and '90s-era deep cuts.

Alejandro Escovedo performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Jan. 16, 2019 (Claire Harbage/NPR). Claire Harbage/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Claire Harbage/NPR

Alejandro Escovedo

The veteran rocker and a backup band from Italy play songs from their album The Crossing, chronicling an American Dream of rock and roll and Beat poetry.

Meg Myers performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Dec. 5, 2018 (Cameron Pollack/NPR). Cameron Pollack/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Cameron Pollack/NPR

Meg Myers

Myers replaces her album's roaring electric guitars and electronics with a pulsing string quartet, piano and brushed drums — and uncorks a cover of Kate Bush's "Running Up That Hill."

Aaron Lee Tasjan performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Dec. 12, 2018 (Cameron Pollack/NPR). Cameron Pollack/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Cameron Pollack/NPR

Aaron Lee Tasjan

Aaron Lee Tasjan arrived in an ascot and mustard-colored shirt, sporting red, round sunglasses and mutton chops. It was a fashionable nod to the psych-pop and rock sound he brought to the Tiny Desk.

Pedro the Lion performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Sept. 13, 2018 (Claire harbage/NPR). Claire Harbage/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Claire Harbage/NPR

Pedro The Lion

No matter how dark or disastrous, there's always been an undercurrent of grace to the music of David Bazan. He returns to his Pedro the Lion moniker for this memorable Tiny Desk performance.

Back To Top