Not terribly surprising, but still sad: the excellent folk duo Civil Wars, who've been on a hiatus since 2012, have officially and permanently parted ways. In a statement released via the band's Facebook page, Joy Williams said that

I am saddened and disappointed by the ending of this duo, to say the very least. JP is a tremendous musician, and I will always be grateful for the music we were able to create together. I sincerely hope that ‘You Are My Sunshine’ will be accepted as a token of my gratitude for every single person that has supported our duo throughout the years. I’m so thankful and my heart is full. Looking ahead, I’m excited to share the music that I am writing and recording in the midst of this difficult transition. I’ve loved being back in the studio, and have missed performing live. I look forward to seeing you soon.

For his part, John Paul White added

I would like to express sincere thanks to all who were a part of the arc of The Civil Wars—from the beginning, to the end, and all points in between. My deep appreciation goes out to all who supported, disseminated, and enjoyed the music. Whatever shape or form the next chapter takes, thanks for being a large part of this one.

As a parting gift, the band released a digital version of "You Are My Sunshine" ... Discuss

It's that time of year again. It seems to come a little sooner every year and, as with every other year, we took our sweet time delivering it. Things like this just can't be rushed. We haggled over it. We went back to the beginning of the year and listened to everything over again. We threw chairs at people who didn't agree with our personal picks and, finally, we set our list in stone. Read More

A few romantic tunes that are a cut above. Read More

A quick survey of the best in this year's music so far. Read More

Global superstar and human Christmas tree Taylor Swift was flipping through her fan mail recently (which, by the way, she gets a lot of, and it's genuinely cool that she takes time to read at least some of it) and happened upon an invitation to Gena Gabrielle's bridal shower in Ohio. Miss Swift has never met Gena or anything, but she was touched enough by the offer to take her up on it, all unbeknownst to Gena or anyone else at the shower. And she filmed the whole thing and posted it to her YouTube page, for good measure. Publicity stunt? Sure. But it's hard enough to get your close friends to come to a shower, so it's fun when an international celebrity takes time out of a very busy schedule to make it.

The look on Gena's face is great, and T-Swift brought along a covered wagon's worth of cookware for the married couple-to-be. Who needs a steady boyfriend when you can make a girl's wedding shower dreams come true just by showing up? ... Discuss