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CD: Court Yard Hounds, Amelita

The Dixie chicks used to be known as the bad girls of country music, now they have families and a new sound.

The Dixie Chicks used to be known as the bad girls of country music, but these days you’re more likely to find them hanging out with family at home than doing  anything controversial – and band member Emily Robison is as surprised as anyone.

Although the 40-year-old struggled to get pregnant and had IVF treatments to conceive her older children, Gus (10) and twins Julianna and Henry (8), she announced a welcome surprise last year: Emily gave birth to Violet, her daughter with boyfriend Martin Strayer, in September. 

And she still can’t quite get her head around the fact that she has four children, saying, “I’m like the old lady who lived in a shoe.”

Family hasn’t been the only collaboration between guitarist Martin and Emily – he also plays for the Court Yard Hounds, her side project with sister, and fellow Chick, Martie Maguire.

The group was born out of boredom when the Dixie Chicks were on hiatus.

“The first year was great, it was nice to be back with families and come down from what happened with the controversy [The group criticised President George Bush for the war on Iraq]. Then, by year three, we were getting antsy,” she says.

“We thought it would be a fun experience to branch out and try different kinds of songs we wouldn’t do with the Chicks,” Emily adds.

The Dixie Chicks are still performing together, but there are no plans to record new music.

“That’s yet to be seen. I’m in a more settled place. We think of life as a whole, now that we’ve got kids.”

Court Yard Hounds sophmore album Amelita is OUT NOW!

Susan Edmunds

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