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Court Yard Hounds (Deluxe Version)

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Album Review

With Natalie Maines uninterested in recording a new Dixie Chicks album nearly five years after the last, sisters Emily Robison and Martie Maguire decided to abandon her as a temporary measure: they formed the side project Court Yard Hounds, releasing an eponymous album in May of 2010. Co-produced by Jim Scott, who mixed Taking the Long Way, it sounds like the Dixie Chicks minus Natalie: softer, sweeter, lacking a sense of surprise, but not unpleasantly so. If anything, there may be a touch too much pleasantness in the Court Yard Hounds, with the record often gently swaying to acoustic instrumentation and relaxing on its smooth surfaces. When guitars are cranked up, as they are on “Ain’t No Son,” Robison is almost buried underneath their steady thump, which isn’t the fault of the production: she’s too sweet a presence to cut through thick production. In other words, she lacks Maines' feistiness, something integral to the Dixie Chicks’ crossover, but she’s a consummate pro, possessing exceptional taste, sturdy songwriting skills, and the status to hire the very best studio musicians, not to mention having Jakob Dylan drop in for a duet on “See You in the Spring.” Perhaps the results are predictable, but they are satisfying, and it’s better to have new music from this duo than none at all.

Customer Reviews


I wondered how they'd sound as a duo and they did an amazing job! Some of it sounds very much like Sheryl Crowe. Great to listen to again and again.

Court Yards Hounds (Deluxe Version)

Surprisingly good! Lots of variety too. Vocally, Martie and Emily can certainly hold their own, but neither of them possesses the raw energy and power that Natalie Maines brings to the table. That's the missing part of the the equation for those looking for something more akin to what the Dixie Chicks have offered up in the past. Not to worry, The Chicks have reunited and will be touring with the Eagles, and Keith Urban this summer. Now that's a triple bill! If you're a fan of well crafted and exceptionally well played, roots/country-pop music, you can't go wrong with Court Yard Hounds.

So lovely

It is a great listen. Yay!


Formed: 2009 in San Antonio, TX

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '10s

Three years after 2006’s Taking the Long Way, sisters Emily Robison and Martie Maguire were ready to cut a new Dixie Chicks album, but Natalie Maines wasn’t prepared to participate, so the siblings struck out on their own as the duo Court Yard Hounds. Robison stepped into the role as frontwoman for the group, and the pair retained the service of much of the Dixie Chicks extended family -- including Maines’ father Lloyd as a guitarist -- during the recording of their eponymous debut. Given this pedigree,...
Full bio
Court Yard Hounds (Deluxe Version), Court Yard Hounds
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Customer Ratings