On The Download: Court Yard Hounds

After sharing the spotlight with Natalie Maines as the Dixie Chicks, sisters Martie Maguire and Emily Robison are stepping out on their own as a duo, Court Yard Hounds, with the new song “I Miss You.”

The last time we saw the Dixie Chicks, they were sweeping the 2007 Grammy Awards with their album “Taking the Long Way.” A group hiatus followed and Maguire and Robison took time to refresh and translate their personal experiences into their music. Both raised their young children and Robison divorced her singer-songwriter husband of nine years, Charlie Robison.

“I Miss You” features Robison on lead vocals for the first time, but she says it was nerve-racking changing a formula that worked so well in the past. “It can be intimidating when you sing with someone with the power that Natalie has,” Robison says on the duo’s official Web site. “It was a huge learning curve for both of us … to figure out what your voice is after you’ve sung so long just trying to blend. But I felt like I could interpret the songs because they meant something to me. It wasn’t like I was just trying to just sing any song. It was something very personal.”

The song is a simple yet pleasant tale of yearning for someone, with sweet lines like “I miss you / I cant wait to kiss you when you come around.” Maguire’s subtle violin and harmonies compliment her sister’s vocals beautifully.

Judging by this song, Court Yard Hounds blend country twang, folk-rock beats and alternative vibes to make a whole new sound, something fans of Sheryl Crow and Emmylou Harris alike will enjoy.

Die-hard Dixie Chicks fans need not worry - the group is not breaking up. In fact, they’re going on tour with The Eagles this summer (albeit with no new album to promote)

Court Yard Hounds’ self-titled debut album is set for release on May 4, 2010.

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