Court Yard Hounds

Court Yard Hounds

Divide and conquer? That was the hope of Dixie Chick siblings Martie Maguire and Emily Robison when singer Natalie Maines’s extended hiatus made the prospect of the band’s relaunch an if-and-when proposition. Itching to make another record—Emily’s divorce from country singer Charlie Robison left her with plenty of song material—the sisters stepped into the spotlight they had ducked for twenty years, dubbing themselves COURT YARD HOUNDS for their eponymous debut on longtime label Columbia. Few vocalists can reach the back rows like Maines, but Robison, who sings lead on all but one track, fills in admirably. Otherwise, this could be vintage late-period Chicks—locked-in harmonies, soaring choruses, and, unfortunately, that awful overprocessed sound so favored by contemporary-pop producers. “Delight (Something New Under the Sun)” tries a bit too hard to make a big statement, but tracks like “I Miss You” and “It Didn’t Make a Sound” perfectly mix pathos with irresistible melodic hooks. With luck, the recent announcement of a June Dixie Chicks tour won’t shut down the Hounds before they even get started.

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