Song title: ‘We Are’
Artist: Joy Williams (One-half of the band, The Civil Wars)
Featured in the Trailer for: “The Vow” (Opens: 2-10-11)
YouTube Bio– Joy Elizabeth Williams initially planned on a career in journalism or family therapy. Instead, the California resident signed with Reunion Records at the age of 17 and released her debut project in July 2001. Mixing elements of contemporary Christian music into an intimate form of pop music, she enjoyed a successful CCM career during the early 2000s, earning multiple nominations at the Dove Awards and selling over 250,000 copies of her first three albums. Williams eventually expanded beyond the sacred world, serving as a songwriter for Warner/Chappell Music and founding her own company, Sensibility Music, with husband Nate Yetton. She also formed an acclaimed acoustic folk duo, the Civil Wars, with fellow songwriter John Paul White.
Joy Williams grew up in the Santa Cruz Mountains on the central coast of California, where her father, Roger Williams, served as the executive director of Mt. Hermon Christian Conference Center. In interviews, Williams would later state that living in an environment that hosted prominent spiritual leaders led her to become “a learned extrovert.” During high school, she excelled and was often labeled a super-achiever, maintaining a 4.0 GPA while also filling the roles of varsity athlete and student body president. At the age of 14, Williams was offered a recording contract, but she turned down the opportunity to pursue a normal childhood. When a second recording contract was presented to her three years later, however, she signed. Her debut album was recorded during her final years in high school, and Williams followed it with 2002’s By Surprise and 2005’s Genesis.
After Genesis’ release, Williams ended her relationship with Reunion Records and began writing songs for other artists. She returned to her solo career in 2009, releasing a series of EPs under her Sensibility Music label. That same year, she also released Live at Eddie’s Attic, which marked her debut with the Civil Wars. After issuing an EP later that year, the Civil Wars began working with CCM producer Charlie Peacock on a full-length record, Barton Hollow. The album was nationally released in early 2011, topping the iTunes charts and cracking the Billboard Top 40 in the process. ~ Ashleigh Kittle, Rovi
The Civil Wars (Excerpts taken from Wikipedia.com)–The Civil Wars are a Grammy nominated duo composed of singer-songwritersJoy Williamsand John Paul White. The two met during a Nashville, Tennessee songwriting session in 2008.It didn’t take long for them to realize they were meant to make music together. Their writing styles and voices blend perfectly—in a manner usually reserved for siblings or Simon & Garfunkel. According to the duo’s web site, they recorded their performance at Eddie’s Attic in Decatur, Georgia on April 8, 2009 and created a free Internet download called Live at Eddie’s Attic. 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 Magazine’s “Best of What’s Next” column.
After recording a live performance album and a four song EP, their full length album, Barton Hollow, was released in 2011 reaching No. 12 on the Billboard 200 chart and No. 1 on the BillBoard Digital Albums chart. On November 30, 2011, Barton Hollowreceived Grammy nominations in the Best Folk Album and Best Country Duo/Group Performance categories. Numerous publications noted that The Civil Wars were snubbed a Best New Artist nomination by The Grammys.
In December, The Civil Wars performed at the Grand Ole Opry’s Ryman Auditorium. and composed a song with Taylor Swiftand T Bone Burnettfor the film “The Hunger Games.” And it must have been this notoriety that allowed Joy Williams and her wonderful 2010 single, ‘We Are’ to be picked up and used in the current trailer for the upcoming film “The Vow.”
Barton Hollowwas included on several Best Albums of 2011 lists, including NPR Music, Paste Magazine, American Songwriter, Rough Trade, Amazon.com, Time Magazine, iTunes, Huffington Post, Associated Press, The Tennesseean, AllMusic.com and The Wall Street Journal. And then Entertainment Weekly, USA Todayand Yahoo Musicpicked the duo as their Best New Artists and Breakout Stars of 2011.
Inside the name (Excerpts taken from LAist.com, thecivilwars.com) – In an interview with the band, Joy Williams had this to say about their name, “Trying to come up with a band name is a daunting process. I imagine it’s a bit like naming a child. Once you stick with it, you’re stuck with it. We were hesitant to throw out a lot of names. One day I was thinking about all the tension that happens innately in the way that John Paul and I write. I was driving down the I-65 in Nashville, noticing all the Civil War monuments, and I thought, “What if I just made up a fictitious war? ‘The War of Something-or-Other’ and pick a year to go with it.” But that sounded really overwrought. Then it suddenly hit me: “Why not The Civil Wars?”
“Obviously, our band doesn’t really relate to any of the historical events of the Civil War, but our music depicts the small battles we all have within ourselves and with others.” And it’s in that spirit, that each song they make is almost like an intimate conversation, and no third wheels or dinner-party chatter are going to interrupt that gorgeous, haunting hush.Their signature song “Poison & Wine” was heard on Grey’s Anatomy—in the foreground, in its entirety, over a key climactic montage, prompting hundreds of thousands of viewers to Google the mystery music. And they got a wholly unsolicited endorsement when America’s biggest pop star gave The Civil Wars a seal of approval. After first tweeting her love for the duo, fellow Nashvillian Taylor Swift included “Poison & Wine” as a selection in her official iTunes playlist, saying, “I think this is my favorite duet. It’s exquisite.”
“Poison & Wine” fits the paradigm of subject matter too true to be spoken, as opposed to sung. “That song probably does sum us up—The Civil Wars, the name of the band—as well as any song that we’ve written,” White says. It’s the one song on the album written with an outside collaborator, their friend Chris Lindsey. “We’re all married, and we were all talking about the good, the bad and the ugly, and just felt like: What would you say to someone if you were actually brutally honest—the things that you could never say because it would turn them away or let the cat out of the bag or reveal yourself to be weaker? What would you actually say if you had this invisible curtain around you and could just scream it in somebody’s face and they’d actually never hear it? We were all being very painfully honest, because we’re all very comfortable around each other and know that things like that never leave the room, except in a song. I’m pretty proud of that song, to be honest.”
When “Poison & Wine” was heard in its entirety on Grey’s Anatomy—versus in the background, for a few seconds, as Williams and White had expected—they knew that if the show’s audience liked what they heard, it would put their search skills to the test. The title only pops up in a verse, not the chorus, so it involved some ingenuity or intuition to track the tune down. Fortunately, viewers proved up to the test of finding, and choosing, their “Poison.” At last count, the song’s official YouTube video had been viewed 400,000 times and that might grow even more when people look up Williams after hearing her solo effort in the trailer for “The Vow.”
To hear Joy Williams’ “We Are,” click here
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