Writing the Dixie Chicks duo’s self-titled 2010 debut served as therapy for guitarist/vocalist Emily Robison in light of her divorce. However, this time around, as Emily’s sister and bandmate Martie Maguire went through her divorce, Court Yard Hounds kept it “a little bit more lighthearted.”
The first time around, Robison admits that she “cooped up and wrote” as an outlet for her heartbreak. She sent the songs that would become the band’s debut to her sister, who urged her to record them.
“Court Yard Hounds is really a product of Martie and I wanting to continue to play together and create a new sound and a new path,” Robison told Radio.com during week of release (July 16). “We really are trying to push each other out of our comfort zone. When Dixie Chicks started I was 16 and she was 19. I think when you do one band for so long and you’re so successful with something, you can get very comfortable and you’re not necessarily pushing yourself to do new things. For us, this band is a way for us to not only play and create and write more outside of that, but it’s a way for us to try new things, which is the ultimate for any artist.”
For the new album, the country-folk duo pushed itself lyrically by inventing a character named Amelita. Writing all but one of the album’s songs themselves, the sisters drew from their own experiences while speaking through the fictional point of view of Amelita. “The World Smiles,” for example, was written about Robison’s daughter; while “The Road You Take” proved to be a crucial, albeit difficult, song through recording.
“I loved the music so much and I felt in my heart that the words had to be important,” Robison explained. “I kept trying to write it and I kept procrastinating and I wouldn’t commit to any lyrics for the song.”
After showing the track to a few songwriters, they all urged her to write the song herself and she’s glad she did.
“I really do feel like it’s a philosophy on life for me,” she said. “You make your choices in life in a lot of ways, whether it’s your relationship or whatever it is. Your road is basically a series of your decisions along the way. I believe in fate to a certain degree too but I think you create your fate based on those little everyday decisions. That’s what that song is about to me.”
To her sister, the track is all about taking ownership — something the Court Yard Hounds have done throughout their career transition from the Dixie Chicks.
“We’ve got things in our past that are hard and they enter into your adult life,” Maguire explained. “It’s not blaming those things for all the hardships you have but recognizing it, letting it go and making the change to not repeat what’s been done to you.”
– Annie Reuter, Radio.com