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The word on the Court Yard Hounds...

Jeffrey Remz  |  March 21, 2010

The report from reading several sources on line about the Court Yard Hounds, the Dixie Chicks offshoot group, is Sheryl Crow is a touchstone.

Emily Robison and Martie Maguire made their club debut Thursday night as part of the SXSW Music Festival in Austin, the first major events leading up to the release of their disc in May. They were on radio earlier in the day.

Chris Riemenschneider of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune said the Hounds "drew a sizable crowd but didn't totally pack the quaint Beauty Bar Palm Door. Their set certainly suggested the upcoming album (May 4) could be huge, especially on the radio, as the songs were full of Sheryl Crow-style anthemic rock with more hints of twang here and there."

Preston Jones of (as in Dallas-Fort Worth) said, "With breezy '70s singer-songwriter-styled pop and folk and country lurking in the background, the Hounds sounded sharp - although, adorably, Martie's voice audibly quavered a little during her one turn on lead vocals - and engaging." Midway through their hour-long set, the sisters brought collaborator Jakob Dylan up for a few songs. (Fun fact: He does not know the words to Rod Stewart's You Wear It Well; he was forced to read off a crib sheet taped to the stage.) As the set ended, Emily and Martie hugged, a look of mild relief on their faces. They had successfully taken their first flight outside the nest."

Jon Pareles of the New York Times said Robison wrote and sang most of the leads with the songs often about breakups and "struggles for independence." Robison is divorced from fellow singer Charlie Robison. "The set included two songs that won't be on the album, "Let the Caged Bird Sing" and "Well-Behaved," with lines like: "He ties you down, doesn't want you strong/If he wants you well-behaved, love won't last for long." With Ms. Robison on banjo and Ms. Maguire on fiddle, Court Yard Hounds touch down in rural music, and they're closer to roots-rock than to current Nashville country, with touches of folk-pop, Memphis soul and the Band. It was a sleek, genial debut...For the new songs, troubled thoughts were tucked behind smiles."

Of course, the Dixie Chicks are back in business, at least for a little while this summer. The trio (remember, they also have lead singer Natalie Maines) will tour with The Eagles in stadiums. Keith Urban also is on the bill. Just where this leaves the touring schedules of the Court Yard Hounds was unclear. They scheduled several dates, including one in Minneapolis, but canceled a few as well. Let's hope both groups are out on the road and that this is the new start of new creative activity for all things Dixie Chicks..

©Country Standard Time • Jeffrey B. Remz, editor & publisher •
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