You may remember when I first mentioned The Civil Wars. They had an intense form of music, with the emphasis on the two very talented singers. This would be typical of one of their songs:
I found their obvious talent to be a big draw, but I didn’t buy their CD, because they were still just playing around. Joy would be up there dancing cheerfully to the glummest songs, and she and John Paul would drag out words through all sorts of auditory acrobatics together, just because they could. I wanted to see what would happen when they settled down a little.
They didn’t show many signs of settling down; their tour schedule was brutal, and it there didn’t seem to be much of a hurry of putting out another CD. I waited.
Joy and her husband Nate had a baby boy. No new CD. The Civil Wars went touring in Europe, leaving John Paul’s wife and children back in the states. No CD.
Abruptly (almost in the middle of a show), the band canceled the remaining tours and put their status on indefinite hiatus due to “irreconcilable differences.”
I was sorry, but not surprised. Of course both of their respective marriages had to be strained–how could they not be? Of course all parties involved were facing serious burn-out. How could they not be?
What infuriated me was the general public’s response, their entitled response that Joy and John Paul had no right to be in falling out, had no right to deprive their fans of continuing music, and, in general, were both acting like a bunch of babies who were engaging in needless drama to increase their fame.
The land of “fandom” (ha) continues to engage in wild speculation, attempts to find one or the other to blame, demands answers, and, generally, is making far more drama out of it than either Joy or John Paul ever did or likely ever will. Yes, Joy and John Paul aren’t speaking. But when Joy granted a rare interview, she didn’t blame or accuse or explain away. She acknowledged tension, and didn’t throw anyone under the bus. John Paul has yet to speak, allowing many to therefore decry that he must be the guilty party and he needs to hurry up and come around.
Really? A man who is unhappy enough with his life choices that he publicly apologizes to his wife for being such a jerk is not likely to be a man who wants to “talk about it.” It is far more likely that he is filled with his own regret, and has more important things to deal with then some people who think they’re entitled to entertainment, be it musically or by getting the dish on whoever it is they want the dish on.
It was nearly a given that Joy would be the one who would be able to speak, even if just something gracious and oblique. She has been in the better position. She was touring with her husband; John Paul had to leave his family behind. She was basking in the glow of being a new mother; his wife, I’m sure, saw plenty of the public speculation that John Paul and Joy were romantically involved. How hard must it be to be separated from your husband who is off on a tour of fame with a pretty lady who everyone thinks he’s an item with?
They did their best to honor their commitments, including offering to pay people their travel costs for arrangements they’d made previously to attend their concerts. They also finished the CD that they’d been working on, even though the tension was high. Here’s a song off of that.
This CD I might have to buy.
On the first CD, they were pretending. They agreed on what made good music, and they made music. On their second CD, they’re raw. The songs are more real to them, and they’re singing from the gut, not playing with their talent. I hear the difference, and it means more. And they know it, too.
I am grateful for the music, but I hurt for them, because their hurt is real. But there are so many people trashing them and bashing them for–hurting.
And that, in itself, is a reason to hurt. People are pretty screwed up.