Sisters Emily Robison and Martie Maguire are best known for comprising two-thirds of the Dixie Chicks, but they also collaborate just between themselves. On July 16th, they will release Amelita, their second album as Court Yard Hounds – a group they take just as seriously as their top-selling country gig.
"We're a band, not a side project," Robison says of Court Yard Hounds, a name taken from Game of Thrones creator David Benioff's novel-within-a-novel City of Thieves. "We like our sound, and we're going to continue to do this, and share something new this time around." In fact, Amelita's haunting harmonies and summery hooks are hard-won, a result of Robison's lengthy recovery process since her divorce. "I've been freed of all of those time-heals-everything kind of things," she says. "Now I've opened up to other ideas and ways of looking at life and the world. I think it's not only a more hopeful album, it's more, well, fun."
The sisters tackle a variety of subjects and sounds on the diverse country-pop album. The title track has a lighthearted ease, while "Phoebe," an eerie ballad based on a tragic suicide that the sisters read about, has an appropriately stressed overtone. Robison sings lead on most songs and Maguire co-wrote the majority; however, Maguire sings lead on "Guy Like You." The lead single on the album, "Sunshine," is a sarcastically titled song about a narcissistic acquaintance.
Check out the exclusive preview of Amelita below, and click here to preorder the album on Amazon.
This article originally appeared on Rolling Stone: Court Yard Hounds Explore Summery New Direction on 'Amelita' - Album Premiere