Court Yard Hounds

Court Yard Hounds
Waterloo Records
Austin, Texas

On an overcast afternoon, Waterloo Records filled with music lovers of all kinds and ages in anticipation of the free in-store performance by the Court Yard Hounds. The two sisters, Martie Maguire and Emily Robinson, who also happen to be two-thirds of the Dixie Chicks, walked on stage, accompanied by a drummer and guitarist, and the crowd cheered in excitement.

The band opened with "Then Again," a track off of their last self-titled album. Robinson played lap slide guitar while Maguire sported her fiddle. After their opening song, they paused to greet the crowd and thanked everyone for coming out to the show. The duo then went into a song on their new album, titled "Aimless Upward." The lyrics were poetic, and the song included stirring violin interludes.

Quickly, Emily traded her guitar for a banjo, and the sisters introduced their backup guitarist, Martin Strayer. Together, the three of them, Robinson, Maguire and Strayer made up the songwriting trio behind the Court Yard Hounds. Maguire explained how Strayer was never officially trained in guitar, noting that she considers untrained guitarists the best. He writes "hundreds of riffs a day," according to Maguire, which they use for their original songs, and their next song was no exception. They proceeded to play "Pheobe," which put the crowd in a noticeably good mood.

"The Coast," which Court Yard Hounds performed next, was written by Robinson and was inspired by the Texas coastline. The audience nodded their heads to the rhythm of the music, some dancing with each other. Their next song, "Divided," was another song from their newest album, one they said was inspired by the challenges and hardships of keeping relationships together while touring on the road.

Robinson and Maguire took a moment to talk about the venue, Waterloo Records, commenting how there aren't many record stores left in the world, and the fact that Waterloo Records is such a strong landmark here "says a lot about Austin."

The Court Yard Hounds closed their set with the title track to their latest album, "Amalita." However, before playing the piece, they told the story behind the song. Making their first Dixie Chicks music video while on location in Texas, they found they were staying right next to a brothel. The sisters had been unsettled by the presence of the brothel and the memory had stuck with them ever since. They decided to write a song that revolved around the life of an imagined girl in the brothel. The result, “Amalita,” was both moving and raw.

The music-filled afternoon was a memorable experience and despite the grey weather, many had broad smiles as they walked out the door.

by Olivia Lin