Court Yard Hounds
Court Yard Hounds finds the Dixie Chicks’ Emily Robison and Martie Maguire testing their wings as a duo. They veer in a folk-rock direction, matching bittersweet lyrics to acoustic-centered tunes with radio-friendly hooks. Much of Court Yard Hounds seems to refer to Robison’s marital breakup; certainly she and Maguire have a lot to say about heartbreak and healing in these songs. “The Coast” (a breezy pop postcard inviting comparisons with Sheryl Crow’s “Soak Up the Sun”) and “See You In The Spring” (a melancholy travelogue sung with Jakob Dylan) sparkle in a wistful way. From the inviting “Delight (Something New Under The Sun)” to the ruminative “Fear Of Wasted Time,” the duo examines life’s choices with candor and empathy. Much tougher in mood is “Ain’t No Son,” an indictment of parental homophobia set to a snarling Southern rock track. Robison’s rippling banjo and Maguire’s keening fiddle add splashes of bluegrass color throughout. Court Yard Hounds proves that the other two-thirds of the band can soar high on their own power.