I figured I'd do a monthly 'what I'm listening to' kind of thing. This could be viewed as a lame placeholder kind of post. And probably it is. But it's my blog! So there!
Yeah, I'm a Dixie Chicks fan, and they've been kind of dormant for a few years now, so I was a bit excited regarding two-thirds of the group putting out a "side project", the Court Yard Hounds with their self-titled album.
Side project is in quotes because only part of me believes the Chicks will record again and that this is really the new full-tine gig of sisters Emily Robison and Martie Maguire.
While talented in their own right - both sisters are very accomplished multi-instrumentalists and songwriters - they do lack a certain spark that Natalie Maines brought to the trio as their vocalist. And overall, I'm being nice.
CYH is kind of snooze of an album. It has all the right intentions and a lot of talent, but like I said, no spark.
With all due respect to the sisters, they were wise to hire a lead singer of Maines' capabilities. There is a reason the sisters sing harmony and backing vocals. While fully capable singers, there is nothing distinctive about what they do here. There are hundreds of female vocalists already out there who sing with mediocrity ("April's Love", "Skyline", "Fear of Wasted Time", "Well Behaved", etc). Too add insult to injury, they pick the least charismatic collaborator when having Jakob Dylan duet on one song. He doesn't even compliment the lead vocal.
There are a few songs that have the right idea, but aren't quite there - like "Delight (Something New Under the Sun)", that you can't think if Maines were taking the lead vocals, it would work.
And then there are ones that are a slight notch above that where they make an attempt for something above a pulse, or a chart position: "The Coast", "I Miss You".
I do like "Ain't No Son" and not because I am a gay man (it's a song about a gay son). The CHY finally kick it up, but you can't help but wonder how out of the park it could/would have been with Maines singing this. Still, had more of the disk been like this song, it would have been a worthy purchase.
I wasn't expecting a Dixie Chicks disk, but I was expecting something more creative and not so bland.