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  • Writer's pictureCountry Stars Central

Court Yard Hounds (Dixie Chicks) Interview



(CSC) 1. You’ve released a brand-new album as a duo. Take our readers behind the creative process and decision to embark on this artistic project of yours!

(Emily Robison)

Well, it was mainly out of necessity that we went into the studio because the Chicks were still on hiatus and Natalie was not wanting to go back in the studio. I had been writing songs trying to keep myself busy and keep my hand in music so I was playing every day; it was important for me to do that. Out of that these songs came and Martie suggested that we do them as just the two of us so that was kind of how that was born. I reluctantly took her (Natalie) lead and made Court Yard Hounds; it was little baby steps. (Laughs)  


(CSC) 2. Having been in the studio for the first time without Natalie (Maines); how did the role of taking on lead vocals and harmony feel? Was there any sense of awkwardness at first?  

 

(Emily Robison)

Oh, definitely awkward, you know I think growing up and singing harmony our whole lives you go to a certain place in your voice when you’re singing harmony and you learn to support another person signing so it was kind of just a new skill I had to learn and I feel like I’m still learning. It definitely was not in my nature to do that, I had to teach myself. (Laughs)   

 

(CSC) 3. I understand that you’re currently working on a follow up to the debut record. Will the sophomore release maintain the same range of musical diversity and where do you hope the next album will take you as a duo?

 

(Emily Robison)

You know we’re writing a ton right now and we’ve written a lot of songs but we still don’t feel like we have the twelve songs yet so we’re trying to beat ourselves songwriting wise. I’d say it spans kind of the same territory but there are definitely different kinds of songs. Of course, we’re always going to be tied to our instrumentation and the things that we like to do; it’s probably similar maybe a little bit more upbeat than the last album.

 

(CSC) 4. Prior to forming the Dixie Chicks, you and your sister Martie traveled in a bluegrass band called the “Blue Night Express” during your High School years (1984-1989). Out of all the genres of music, what inspired you to form a bluegrass band?

 

(Emily Robison)

Our mom was a classical violinist and our dad was a country fan so bluegrass was just the natural way for us to branch out and play some new instruments; they loved string instruments in our family. Bluegrass was a great training ground and we kind of got turned on to it by another family after Martie took fiddle lessons. My dad gave Martie fiddle lessons and then we started going to these bluegrass festivals and that’s how we learned about it, because we didn’t really know too much about it until she started taking fiddle lessons.

 

(CSC) 5. Growing up in a family of all girls, what was your childhood like and when did you become acquainted with your interest in playing various instruments?

 

(Emily Robison)

Well, I saw the banjo from across the room. (Laughs) I think I picked the banjo because it was the least likely for a girl my age to be playing and I thought it was an interesting instrument and so I picked it up. Everything else is kind of a necessity you know. I picked up the Dobro when banjo didn’t sound right on every song and Martie picked up the mandolin when we needed the mandolin on some songs. When you’re in a band format you just kind of have to take roles based on what’s needed at the time. If someone says “Hey we hear a bouzouki on this” or whatever it, is you just try and pick it up.

 

(CSC) 6. Having gained immense recognition and international success as the Dixie Chicks, what are some of the most memorable moments and the career highs that you cherish from that period of your lives?

 

(Emily Robison)

Definitely the level of touring at that level was really, really fun and playing for that many people at one time, it’s a little bit surreal. I would say it’s surreal more than anything else. The last Grammy’s was really amazing. It was just after such a difficult time for us so I think the fact that we ended that chapter that way was really incredible for us.

 

(CSC) 7. How long will fans have to wait for another Dixie Chicks album and world tour and does Natalie have the desire to return to recording/performing music full-time?

 

(Martie Maguire)

Well, she’s not wanting to do it right now and we totally understand, she’s got two young kids and she wants to be at home and try her hand at some other things. We definitely have talks all the time about whether we’re ready to do something and we’re not but we are still together (Laughs).

 

(Emily Robison)

I know its frustrating for the fans because we get a lot of questions through our web chats online and people don’t believe us when we tell them that there really isn’t any drama between us, it’s just that we’ll do it when everybody wants to be there and wants to do it again. I think it makes some people angry and some people understand, but it just is what it is.

 

(Martie Maguire)

I mean five years isn’t that long, when I saw the Beastie Boys didn’t have an album for seven years I thought, okay we’ve got two more years before we hit the seven years. (Laughs) We’ve always relied on kind of all of us wanting to do it at the same time and having that chemistry together so we don’t want to force anything. We couldn’t force anything; we’re friends first, band mates second. It will happen when it’s ready.

 

(CSC) 9. In 2003 on your “Top Of The World” tour, you all received several threats against your lives, where did you find the courage to get out there each night and perform amidst that serious concern?

 

(Martie Maguire)

I always kind of removed myself from it and Emily from you know it could be a stray bullet that goes our way but I felt more for Natalie. She took a really strong stance that she wasn’t going to back down and cancel shows and I think I would have if it were me; I would have canceled shows especially for our family’s sake.  I think our families were a lot more nervous than we were but we just focused on the people who want you there and you try not to focus on the ones that don’t.

 

(Emily Robison)

We beefed up security a lot so we just had to trust in the people that we had put there to do that and protect us.

 

(CSC) 10. With both of you being mothers, how have you managed to balance motherhood and music on the road and what does your daily routine?

 

(Emily Robison)

Well, every trip is different. This summer Martie’s kids are going to come out and join us. Mine are not because they’re with their dad. Last year we traded off having kids on the road with us because we don’t get our own buses this time around so we just flip flop it.

 

(CSC) 11. What do the two of you hope to achieve next and where would you like to see your careers take you?

 

(Martie Maguire)

I think we want to afford ourselves the possibility of doing this and making a living in music with this outlet and it’s turned into so much more songwriting than I ever imagined it would than we did with the Dixie Chicks. I feel like we’re growing as writers which was always a goal of mine and it was really important to me to become a better songwriter, so I feel like being able to sustain doing this for a living and then growing as a songwriter are the two things that I’m taking out of it.

 




 

 

 

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