Civil Wars Win Another Grammy Over Mainstream Country Stars

Despite Split in 2012, They Captured Best Country Duo/Group Performance

The Civil Wars’ Sunday night (Jan. 26) Grammy win for best country duo/group performance underscored the unpredictability of what’s regarded as the world’s most prestigious music awards program.

The duo of Joy Williams and John Paul White split up unexpectedly in Nov. 2012 in the middle of a European tour. At the time, they cited “internal discord and irreconcilable differences of ambition” as the reasons for parting company.

Still, they’ve now won another Grammy against competition from several major country acts.

“From This Valley,” a track from their self-titled album released in 2013, edged out “Don’t Rush” (Kelly Clarkson featuring Vince Gill), “Your Side of the Bed” (Little Big Town), “Highway Don’t Care” (Tim McGraw, Taylor Swift and Keith Urban) and “You Can’t Make Old Friends” (Kenny Rogers with Dolly Parton).

Dolly Parton’s nomination was not lost on White, who accepted the trophy during ceremonies prior to the CBS telecast of the main awards show.

“I want to apologize to Dolly Parton for depriving her of anything at all,” he said. “She’s one of my biggest heroes, and it’s an honor to be nominated with everyone in this category.”

Williams was not present to share the win, and White did not mention her during his acceptance speech.

“I want to thank my beautiful wife and my four kids,” he said. “My wife has me at home a lot right now, and I hope she’s still happy about that. I want to thank Tyler Young, who’s fixin’ my frozen pipes at home so my kids have water. And Phil Madeira for helping write this song, which I’m really proud of. It’s been around for quite a while.”

“From This Valley” was written by Williams, White and Madeira.

In 2012, the Civil Wars won Grammys for best country duo/group performance for “Barton Hollow” as well as folk album of the year for the album of the same name.

Calvin Gilbert has served as’s managing editor since 2002. His background includes stints at the Nashville Banner, Radio & Records and Westwood One.