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Amelita

4.4 out of 5 stars 69 customer reviews

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Audio CD, July 16, 2013
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Editorial Reviews

After releasing their self-titled debut, Court Yard Hounds, to much critical acclaim, Emily Robison and Martie Maguire are at it again. Containing 11 new tracks, Robison and Maguire took a different approach with Amelita than their debut album in 2010. This album contains a new perspective, which is due in part to time passed since Robison's divorce. "I've been freed of all of those time-heals-everything kind of things," says Emily Robison. "Now, I've opened up to other ideas and ways of looking at life and the world."

"I think it's not only a more hopeful album, but it's more … well fun," adds Robinson.

The new direction is apparent on title track "Amelita," which has a breezy south-of-the-border sound, or "Phoebe," which calls in a frenetic, anxious melody, and chillingly close harmonies. Lead single, "Sunshine," co-written by acclaimed singer/songwriter Jonatha Brooke along with Martin Strayer and Alex Dezen, oozes with irony as the girls flash their carefully manicured claws through silken harmonies.

Robison's vocals captivate listeners as she sings lead on most tracks, while Maguire co-wrote seven of the 11 songs on the album, penned "Road You Take" herself, and sings lead on "Guy Like You," which she wrote with guitarist Martin Strayer.

The girls teamed up with the same producer, Jim Scott, who they've had a true connection with since their first album. Surrounding themselves with Jim and guitarist Martin Strayer, who was also an integral part of the first album, the girls took a comfortable and pro-active approach to creating their music this time around. "I think we've approached it differently because we felt like okay, we are a band. We aren't just two ex-Dixie Chicks anymore, we're a band and we like our sound and we're going to continue to do this and hopefully get better at it, and share something new this time around," said Maguire.

The Court Yard Hounds' new album is a clear statement of who the girls are as artists, defining their sound as a band, with soaring songs that are personal, yet familiar and widely relatable.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 16, 2013)
  • Original Release Date: July 16, 2013
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony Legacy
  • Run Time: 42 minutes
  • ASIN: B00D4AA73I
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #34,976 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Philip B. Morgan on July 18, 2013
Format: Audio CD
While I was tres impressed with the Court Yard Hounds' first outing, my first listen to Amelita BLEW ME AWAY! Excellent work, Ladies! Well done! I have been a follower of your music for a very long time. My partner and I have all of the original DC recordings. How great was it to be out shopping at NorthPark Mall on a Saturday afternoon, only to find you cowgirls singing your little hearts out by the big fountain? Then there was always a cold beer, or two, or three on a cool Summer evening out at the West End Market Place, listening to you ladies croon as the Texas stars came out.

You have both come so far since those days, and you should be proud. I personally believe Court Yard Hounds is some of your best work yet, if not the best. Having listened to DC recordings for so many years, I always wondered what your voices actually sounded like. I could hear them in the harmonies and backups, but I always wondered what you both would sound like up front on lead vocals. With the creation of CYH, I got my answer. My question immediately changed from "What would they sound like?" to "Where have these angelic voices been hiding all these years?"

Congratulations on another top-notch album. The effort you put into it shows. It is truly a gem.

Many thanks.
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Format: Audio CD
With the Dixie Chicks as a working entity on a hiatus that has now gone past the seven-year mark, the three gals that comprise the most successful female music group, country or otherwise, are on to separate things. Natalie Maines, of course, has gone into roots-rock with her recent solo debut album MOTHER. Meanwhile, sisters Emily Robison and Martie Maguire, having made a splashy 2010 duo debut as the Court Yard Hounds, are now out with a second album in the form of AMELITA.

While it may be tempting to compare the two acts, both Natalie on her own and Emily and Martie in their Court Yard Hounds gig, with what they achieved as a six-fisted (and Bushwhacking) trio, and perhaps view Natalie's album negatively, I don't think such comparisons are entirely accurate, let alone fair to either one. AMELITA, like the Hounds' self-titled debut of three years ago, is a very rootsy affair in a way that most conventional Nashville "product", to put it mildly, definitely isn't. Both sisters are very strong multi-instrumentalists, with Emily putting her bluegrass Dobro and banjo picking skills to good use, and Martie displaying her talents on viola, violin, fiddle, and mandolin. Martie handles the lead vocals on "A Guy Like You" and "Gets You Down", while Emily does the lead vocals on everything else, still sounding uncannily (and unintentionally) like Sheryl Crow. Their harmonies are also far better than any other working all-female vocal duos, and they do bear close comparison to what Linda Ronstadt achieved in her duo projects with both Emmylou Harris (on 1999's WESTERN WALL) and Ann Savoy (on ADIEU FALSE HEART).
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Format: Audio CD
Most know Emily and Martie best as members of The Dixie Chicks. But though the songs on their Court Yard Hounds new album are occasionally country-tinged, there's a lot more going on here as well.

Many songs on the album have a very warm, organic, natural musicality. Some bring to mind those of the early 1970s singer-songwriters, and the album cover even has a slightly faded, retro vibe. But it's not really nostalgic at all: these songs are fresh and homegrown.

There are ballads, as well as songs you can dance to. And quite a few you'll probably find yourself singing along to. I won't list and describe every song here, but rather highlight a couple. (There isn't a dud on the album, it was hard to pick.)

One of those is "Sunshine," about a person who brings the others around her down. But it won't bring you down; it's an instant mood-brightener. And, relatable: we've all known people like this.

"Rock All Night" is very uptempo, a party song, just plain fun. That's something this album does well - fun.

The upbeat "The World Smiles" gets stuck in your head - it's about keeping a positive attitude and believing in the good all around you.

I was a casual listener of The Dixie Chicks and somehow missed the Court Yard Hounds debut album (which is in my shopping cart now). This band has really won me over with Amelita.

A free advance CD was provided by Columbia Records for unbiased feedback, without any obligation.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I was a HUGE DC fan, and bought the first Court Yard Hounds CD with excitement. The first CD wasn't bad, but it wasn't like the DC works from before. I bought this CD hoping that things would improve with time; they did not. I tried to get through this CD but found myself often pushing to the next song, and when I got to the next song, it sounded to me the same as what I'd just skipped past. I felt the entire CD was really "vanilla" -- vanilla ice cream flavor being nothing exciting, though not offensive to most people. If you're looking for barely noticeable background music, this is your CD; if not, spend your money elsewhere.
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