The Civil Wars, VH1 Unplugged

Grey's Anatomy has kick-started the careers of some of its cast members (Katherine Heigl and Kate Walsh come to mind), but the ABC series has also served as an unexpected launching pad for musicians (Hello, Snow Patrol!).

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Even if you've never heard of The Civil Wars, a Nashville-based folk duo, you've probably heard their signature song "Poison and Wine," which appeared — in its entirety — over a dramatic montage during the show's fifth season. The group, consisting of John Paul White and Joy Williams, hadn't even released their first album when the Grey's exposure sent everyone running to Google the song title. "That was a huge weapon for us," White says. "Most musicians have figured this out: TV can be like radio. It's a beautiful thing... like advertising that you get paid for. And it spreads to millions of people. In a perfect world, you're on a show that lines up with what you do, and Grey's was a perfect example of that."

"But the kicker is you have to follow it up," he continues. "You have to have something right behind it because lots of artists get TV placements, and then that's the end of it."

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No problem. The Civil Wars have obviously mastered the art of the follow-up. In the time since they appeared on Grey's, the duo has earned two Grammys, toured with Adele and dueted with Taylor Swift on The Hunger Games soundtrack. On Wednesday, May 2 (6/5c), the band will take the stage on the revived VH1 series Unplugged.

"We both grew up with [Unplugged]," says White. "I remember anxiously waiting for each episode. It's a big deal to us, and we don't take it lightly."

Check out an exclusive clip of The Civil Wars' cover of Portishead's "Sour Times" on VH1's Unplugged:

 

Unplugged: The Civil Wars airs Weds, May 2 at 6/5c on VH1, but will debut online Tues, May 1 here.