Court Yard Hounds: (almost) a new Dixie Chicks album! | EW.com

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Court Yard Hounds: (almost) a new Dixie Chicks album!

The Dixie Chicks' Emily Robinson and Martie Maguire talk about their new side project

Emily, you’re essentially the lead singer in this band. How does that feel?
Robison I feel confident about our music. The scariest thing is stepping away from the Chicks’ shadow. I was always the quiet one, Martie was the nice one, and Natalie [Maines] was the feisty one. This is kind of freeing.
Maguire She’s getting a really big lead-singer head.
Robison Yeah, right.
Maguire I’ve been in a band with my sister since she was 10 and I was 13, and I’m just now getting to know her. There was always the other person between us. We’re face-to-face now, which is neat.

So how did this side project happen?
Robison I think we did need a year off, but then I started to get bored. So I started writing more. I was going to pitch the songs [to other artists], and Martie was like, ”Don’t pitch them. I’ll kill you.”
Maguire I didn’t think we were going to have a band. I thought, When Natalie’s ready to work, she’s gonna love these songs. We just wanted to make new music. And I don’t think she’s ready yet.

The Dixie Chicks’ upcoming mini-tour with the Eagles — is that happening because Natalie got jealous?
Maguire [Laughs] I think it’s because the Eagles called.

Emily, you wrote many of these songs while going through a divorce [from singer Charlie Robison]. How do you feel about exposing such personal material?
Robison There’s only about 70 percent that’s really me, so I leave that up for interpretation. I could deny any one thing at any time.
Maguire You were very kind. I don’t see any bashing.

Will mainstream-country radio play it?
Robison We’ve gotten to a place where we would be honored by whoever plays it, but going back and having dinner at Hooters with radio programmers — I don’t see us doing that.

What’s the dream for this project?
Robison I would be happy to tour and have a musical outlet when the Chicks aren’t happening. Really, I just want to be in a great band.
Maguire And get the security of knowing there’s something we can always do. Almost like a retirement plan.
Robison This is our 401(k). [Both crack up.]