As part of the Dixie Chicks, Emily Robison and Martie Maguire started out playing street corners in their home town of Dallas. And they eventually became one of the biggest selling female groups of all time. Now, the sisters have another band, called Court Yard Hounds. The band recently stopped by KXT’s studio, and we were there to take a listen.
KERA Radio story:
The Dixie Chicks haven’t recorded an album since 2006’s Taking the Long Way. But the individual Chicks have been busy. Singer Natalie Maines released a solo album last month. And Martie Maguire and Emily Robison have formed Court Yard Hounds. Their second album comes out next month. And today, they release the first song from it, called “Sunshine.”
With the Dixie Chicks, Robison plays banjo and Maguire plays fiddle. They play the same instruments with Court Yard Hounds. Only now, instead of harmonizing with Maines, the sisters sing lead.
Robison says that transition has been a learning experience.
“Just kinda coming out from behind that sideman, harmony singer kinda thing. Just really kinda owning stuff and feeling comfortable to throw yourself out there,” she says. “Trying to find your sound is the most important thing.”
Robison and Maguire started Court Yard Hounds to have something to do during breaks from the Dixie Chicks. But with the band’s second album, the sisters are thinking bigger.
“We feel like a band now. We don’t feel like a side project anymore,” Robison says. “I think after touring and really letting it get back in our blood – I think Martie and I are kind of made of, I don’t know, we just have to be working and playing all the time. It’s just part of who we are…”
“Part of what our mother made us do,” Maguire interjects.
“That’s right – our mother cracking the whip on us all the time,” Robison agrees.
The album was recorded at Texas Treefort Studios near Austin and at Maguire’s home studio. But it almost didn’t make it to that point. Originally, the sisters thought they’d write a few songs for other artists to record.
“Martie said, quote, ‘I will kill you if you give these songs away’,” Robison says.
“I just couldn’t picture Faith Hill or Carrie Underwood, or I don’t know who she was going to pitch to, but I felt like they were so personal it would be a crime,” Maguire says.
The album, called Amelita, is out July 16.