Earlier this week, I confessed some of my musical beginnings. I’ve been through a lot of phases from top 40 to Christian rock to classic rock to new wave and alternative. But I never mentioned how I once ventured into a very different musical territory.
I listened to country.
Before you judge (for better or worse), let me explain. I was living in the south, North Carolina to be exact. I was bored with the only radio access I had that seemed to play the worst of top 40. I needed something and so one day in the car, I switched to a country station.
In my mind, country music was the music of the informercial-type commercials in the 70s.
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and Miss Loretta Lynn
THAT was country. And even though Barbara Mandrell was country when country wasn’t cool, I certainly wasn’t.
As I listened, I found that I actually liked some of the music. My favorites were Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood, Lady Antebellum, Sara Evans, and even some Miranda Lambert (Gunpowder & Lead RULES). And I became a big fan of the Dixie Chicks. I had three of their albums and knew every single word and then politics got in the way.
Personally, I’m not a fan of celebrities and politics mixing it up on either side of the aisle. I was annoyed but I also think people got way out of hand. And eventually, the Dixie Chicks came to an end. It seemed lead singer Natalie Maines was going in one direction and the other two were going in another.
Yes, I know I just said “the other two.” Let’s face it. They were the sisters. The background, back-up duo that really only became stars when Natalie took the mic. When she left the group, I expected them to fade into oblivion.
And then Court Yard Hounds was born in 2010 and they recently released their second album Amelita. Having been a previous Dixie Chicks fan, I thought I’d give Martie and Emily a try and see what their new lead singer brought to the table.
What I expected was a Dixie Chicks copycat. Turns out it’s not. Turns out Martie and Emily can actually sing on their own with Martie taking the vocals for most of the tracks. (Side note: Emily sounds a little like Joan Baez to me). While the vocals aren’t as strong as Natalie Maines (I adore her voice), I was impressed that these “background sisters” can not only play their myriad of instruments (like banjo, fiddle, viola, and mandolin) but they can sing in the foreground as well.
It’s a little folksy (think Indigo Girls) and not as spirited as the Dixie Chicks but definitely worth a little for those of you who miss some of the sounds of the original chicks.
Here’s a listen to my favorite track off the album, Sunshine.
So are Court Yard Hounds going to be around for while? Is this just a side project until Natalie comes back to them? Clearly not.
“We’re a band, not a side project. We like our sound, and we’re going to continue to do this, and share something new this time around.” Emily Robison couldn’t be more clear about the game plan for the Court Yard Hounds, the group she and sister Martie Maguire head up, as they get ready to release their second album, Amelita.
Personally, I think they’re adorable and wish them and their bluegrassy, country sounds much continued success.
One2One Network asked me to review a copy of this album. While they didn’t pay me and all opinions are my own, I volunteered for the gig in the spirit of keeping up with new music! I also included an affiliate link to the album if you’re interested in grabbing a copy of your own.