While in-between Afghan Whigs albums and amidst a dispute with their record label, Elektra, Dulli recorded demos for the act with friends and collaborators Shawn Smith (Brad, Satchel, Pigeonhead) and Harold Chichester (Royal Crescent Mob, Howlin' Maggie) in New Orleans. The demos have an exceptionally dark, tense, and New Orleans flavored groove and swagger. As a result of the Afghan Whigs' label troubles, it is debated that Elektra leaked the demo tapes as they were widely circulated in the trader circuit.
The Afghan Whigs settled their dispute with Elektra and signed with Sony/Columbia in April 1998. Columbia optioned The Twilight Singers recordings; but preferred to release a new Afghan Whigs album instead. The Afghan Whigs' swan song 1965 was released in October 1998 to wide critical acclaim. The band toured for one year in support of the album but decided to disband in February 2001.
Twilight and Blackberry
2000 saw Greg Dulli revive The Twilight Singers, reworking the original leaked demos with dance producers and remix auteurs Fila Brazillia. The final product was a mix of southern trumpet, Midwest idealism, and UK big beat, all masking a solemn dirge of life's transformation to death. Columbia released the album as Twilight as Played by the Twilight Singers in September 2000. The band toured with members of Howlin' Maggie and former Afghan Whigs' drummer, Michael Horrigan, on bass.
Dulli took time off following the short tour for Twilight.., investing in a bar in Los Angeles. In 2001, he began working on the follow up for Twilight.. tentatively titled Amber Headlights. The death of Dulli's friend, director Ted Demme in January 2002, forced him to shelve the project, and he took a second leave from writing and recording. After reading the Jack London book Martin Eden, and experiencing an earthquake, Dulli set about writing the concept album that became Blackberry Belle.
With a large cast of performers, including former Prince protégé Apollonia and former Screaming Trees singer Mark Lanegan, Blackberry Belle became an examination of the dark side of love and loss, a familiar topic revisited from former Afghan Whigs albums like Black Love. The critics welcomed Dulli's return and were eager to give his second album, independently financed and released through One Little Indian in October 2003, high marks.
She Loves You and Powder Burns
A second touring version of The Twilight Singers including Jon Skibic (guitars), Scott Ford (bass) and Bobby Macintyre (drums), made two legs through the United States and Europe in 2003 and 2004.
August 2004, the band released their third album, She Loves You, a collection of cover songs from artists as varied as Fleetwood Mac, Mary J. Blige, and George Gershwin.
In September 2005, Dulli finally released his formerly shelved Amber Headlights as his first solo album. He continued working on his fourth Twilight Singers album titled Powder Burns, which was partly recorded by generator power in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
A third touring version of The Twilight Singers including Dave Rosser (guitars), Scott Ford (bass) and Bobby Macintyre (drums), played at the 2006 SXSW Music Festival in Austin, TX at the venue Friends (208 E 6th St) on March 16th to debut tracks Powder.
The Twilight Singers released Powder Burns on May 16, 2006, supported by a United States and European tour.