ACL Live Shot: Court Yard Hounds
Dixie Chicks sisters step into their own sound and songs
By Jim Caligiuri, 10:56AM, Sat. Oct. 5
They were afforded the big stage worthy of two Dixie Chicks with a super new second album under their arm, but the crowd that gathered for the Court Yard Hounds was sparse – although that might be attributed to the early Friday set time and a bright sun heating the Zilker Park to a temperature around 90 degrees.
Sisters Martie Maguire and Emily Robison never let any disappointment show as they thundered through an hour highlighted with tunes from their latest, Amelita. Where their self-titled debut seemed tentative, they came across the Zilker lawn with a punchier sound that mixes styles from contemporary country to Tex-Mex and fiddle-fueled bluegrass.
A band stacked with local hot shots – Bukka Allen on keys, George Rieff on bass, and Brannen Temple on drums – backed Maguire’s fiddle, Robison’s banjo and dobro, and their sisterly harmonies as they opened with the Chicks’ newgrass instrumental “Lil Jack Slade.” New tune “Rock All Night” followed in Sheryl Crow’s pop tenor.
The new disc’s title track stood out for its passionate storytelling: the tale of a poor, young Mexican woman looking to escape a dreadful fate, told with heightened urgency. Toward the set’s end, “Delight (Something New Under The Sun),” from their first disc, fairly exploded from the stage.
Previous appearances by the Hounds found them searching for their sound, but this time out proved they’re on their way to something more than benign singer-songwriter fare. They’re nearing a fiery equal to their work with the Dixie Chicks.
For more ACL Fest coverage, see austinchronicle.com/acl. For photo galleries from the fest, see austinchronicle.com/photos.