Pop superstar Taylor Swift kicked off her highly-anticipated Eras Tour with new music for her fans and an unexpected reunion, of sorts.

According to the AV Club, Swift announced Thursday on Instagram she would release four new songs in celebration of her tour, including one featuring Joy Williams and John Paul White, the former Grammy-winning country and folk duo known as The Civil Wars. It marks Williams and White’s first collaboration since they broke up for good in 2014.

Here is what you need to know about Swift’s new music and The Civil Wars.

What Are Taylor Swift’s New Songs?

The tracks, which debuted at midnight Friday, include “Taylor’s version” of three previously recorded songs: “Eyes Open” and “Safe & Sound,” both released for the hit 2012 movie The Hunger Games, as well as “If This Was A Movie.”

The latter was originally included on a deluxe edition of Swift’s 2010 album Speak Now. Her fans have speculated this is the next re-recorded album she plans to release based on clues from her music and social media pages.

The fourth release is a new single, “All Of The Girls You Loved Before.” According to Cosmopolitan, the song was supposed to appear on Swift’s 2019 album Lover.

“Safe & Sound (Taylor’s Version)” is the track featuring Williams and White, the pair formerly known as The Civil Wars.

Who Are the Civil Wars?

music duo the civil wars singing and playing guitar
The Civil Wars perform in 2012 at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee.
Getty Images

Joy Williams and John Paul White formed The Civil Wars in 2009 in Nashville, Tennessee.

Williams, 40, grew up in California and began her music career singing in church, according to Vogue. White, 50, spent his childhood on a farm in rural Muscle Shoals, Alabama. They met at a songwriting session and discovered their harmonies featured a unique blend of sounds.

They surged in popularity with the release of their 2011 album Barton Hollow. Its title track reached the top 15 of several rock charts in the United States and won them a Grammy Award for Best Country Duo/Group Performance. The album also won for Best Folk Album.

The duo toured in 2011 with Adele, who called them the “best live band I have ever seen,” according to Vogue, and teamed up with Swift for their Hunger Games track “Safe & Sound.” The song was nominated for two Grammys and won one for Best Song Written For Visual Media.

The Civil Wars’ self-titled second album released in August 2013 and topped the Billboard 200.

So What Happened?

Williams and White’s relationship quickly eroded following their rise. They ended their 2012 European tour due to “internal discord and irreconcilable differences of ambition,” according to a news release and went on indefinite hiatus.

In an August 2013 interview with NPR, Williams revealed they had not spoken to each other since the completion of their chart-topping record earlier that spring. “And at the moment, not being able to talk about that or even attempt to match the olive branches or lay them out before each other, that’s a hard and uncomfortable place to be,” Williams said. “And then for that to be in the public eye, in the midst of music coming out that I believe so much in—that’s a precarious place to be.”

They officially announced their breakup in a news release on August 6, 2014.

In a 2017 interview with Riff magazine, White admitted to suffering from burnout. He returned home to his wife and children in Alabama following the 2013 album and said he was proud of what he and Williams had accomplished. “I don’t sit and think, ‘Man, what if I stuck with this? What if I did more of this?’ I don’t have it at all,” he said.

Does This Mean The Civil Wars Are Reuniting?

Not exactly. Williams and White are listed separately as featured artists on the track, and the duo has not announced any new projects. But Swifties and fans of folk music alike can all dream with excitement this is the start of a new era for The Civil Wars, as well.

Headshot of Tyler Piccotti
Tyler Piccotti
Associate News Editor, Biography.com

Tyler Piccotti joined the Biography.com staff in 2023, and before that had worked almost eight years as a newspaper reporter and copy editor. He is a graduate of Syracuse University, an avid sports fan, a frequent moviegoer, and trivia buff.