Court Yard Hounds: Court Yard Hounds

RIYL: The Dixie Chicks, The Jayhawks, Sugarland

It’s strange to think that Taking the Long Way, the monster crossover smash by Texas spitfires the Dixie Chicks, is only four years old. The battle cry of three women who had had enough of being called unpatriotic for committing country music heresy by being anti-war, chastising George W. Bush…four years old. It’s amazing what a new President will do to perspective, even if virtually nothing else has changed.


Sisters Emily Robison and Martie Macguire were eager to record another Dixie Chicks album, but lead singer Natalie Maines said she wasn’t ready yet, so the Erwin girls went on without her. Dubbing their offshoot Court Yard Hounds, the girls’ eponymous debut sounds exactly like you’d expect a Dixie Chicks spinoff to sound. Maguire plucks and bows anything she can get her hands on, Robison has words for her ex-husband, and the two sing their little hearts out while the Chicks’ backing band, including Maines’ father Lloyd, fleshes everything out. “The Coast” is a positively soaring slice of alt-country, the kind of thing that will have Jayhawks fans swooning. The girls even rock out a little on “Ain’t No Son.” Nothing here reinvents the wheel, but it’s not really meant to; it’s simply a well crafted country pop record, just in time for summer. Dig in. (Columbia 2010)

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