First-Time GRAMMY Nominees: The Civil Wars

  • The Civil Wars' Joy Williams and John Paul White
    Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage.com

(The Recording Academy asked some of this year's first-time GRAMMY nominees to collect their thoughts and share what it feels like to be nominated for a GRAMMY.)

John Paul White and I were sitting next to our spouses at the GRAMMY nominations concert held in the Nokia Theatre at L.A. Live. We'd been invited to attend the event, which we hoped would bode well for a possible nomination; that or it was going to be an unconventional motivational tool for next year. Thankfully, there was good news at the end of the night for us. There in our seats, we found out, like most others did, by going to GRAMMY.com via our iPhones.

Surreal is not an accurate enough word for it. I was thankful, elated. We've worked hard this year, never expecting a GRAMMY nod to be a given. It was a hope we had, though. We wound up having a late dinner at one of our favorite restaurants in Los Angeles, Osteria Mozza, to celebrate.

— Joy Williams

We made this album in Nashville under the keen watchful eye of Charlie Peacock. We recorded it the same way we perform live — just the two of us and a guitar (and occasional piano). Once we felt good about a take, we tried adding different flavors to it. Sometimes they worked, but more times than not they would be removed because they felt obtrusive. We ended up with something more stripped down and organic than we would have expected.

— John Paul White

JP and I thought we'd mix up our usual aesthetic, so he will be wearing the dress to the GRAMMYs, and I'll be wearing the tuxedo this time.

— Joy Williams

You know what? If we win, I'll ... um, never mind. 

— John Paul White

(The Civil Wars, consisting of vocalist Joy Williams and guitarist/vocalist John Paul White, are nominated for Best Country Duo/Group Performance for "Barton Hollow" and Best Folk Album for their album of the same name. Released in February 2011, the duo's debut album peaked at No. 12 on the Billboard 200.)

Tune in to the 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards live from Staples Center in Los Angeles on Sunday, Feb. 12 from 8–11:30 p.m. ET/PT on CBS. Meanwhile, visit The Recording Academy's social networks on Facebook and Twitter for updates and breaking GRAMMY news.

Email Newsletter