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Holding out hope for The Civil Wars: Album re-released

The Civil Wars release more music, but still aren't together
Rick Diamond, Getty Images

The Civil Wars album “Between the Bars” is being re-released, this time to digital. According to a February 6 report by NPR, the GRAMMY winning duo isn’t back together, but the album which was previously part of a Record Store Day promotion is getting a second go-round.

“Between the Bars” is The Civil Wars’ cover of the late singer/songwriter Elliott Smith’s song. The Civil Wars’ original vinyl EP release bore the same name and also featured Portishead’s “Sour Times,” Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” and The Romantics’ “Talking In Your Sleep.” The digital copy will be released on February 11.

Though just two years ago The Civil Wars’ career was gaining momentum and they were one of the most talked about new acts, talk of the duo these days has fallen into a repetitive pattern of waiting to see if the two partners will ever work out the differences that caused them to cancel their tour in November of 2012. While John Paul White has been utterly silent on the entire matter, Joy Williams has given interviews, stating that she hopes the duo will continue.

Even while apart, The Civil Wars won another GRAMMY at the 2014 awards show. Their performance of “From This Valley” won the award for Best Country Duo or Group Performance.

The re-release of the “Between the Bars” album may feel like yet another tease to fans. It’s hard to know whether the record label is trying to get fans to hold out hope for a reconciliation by keeping The Civil Wars music circulating, or if the label is simply trying to milk all they can from the defunct partnership.

The Civil Wars had the potential to be brilliant, but even brilliant minds can clash, as seems to have happened in this case. In the end, all the waiting and “new” releases that are actually old recordings may prove to be too much for fans. Eventually, The Civil Wars, or their label will need to make a formal statement as to whether it’s truly the end of the road for the band. Until then, fans are left with yet another attempt to resurrect more sales for a duo that has offered them nothing to look forward to in return.

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