(The Court Yard Hounds: Martie Maguire-left, Emily Robison-right)
On a breezy night in Napa, just after the sun had gone to bed, the Court Yard Hounds took the stage at Noteworthy to do their part for music eduction.
VH1 Save The Music Foundation brought sisters Martie Maguire and Emily Robison–AKA 2/3 of the Dixie Chicks–to California for a 10-song set that helped raise bags of money to keep music education alive in schools.
“There’s no parlay dance floor?” Robison asked the crowd of 200 who responded with laughter.
After a few more jokes, the band started their set with “Then Again,” a country bubbler with a funky twang, off their 2010 eponymous debut album.
Their second song, “Aimless Upward,” brought the tempo down to a simmer. The chorus hung on a clever lyric, “We are seeds with promises to keep,” that embodied the soul of a Cat Stevens classic, upgraded for a modern audience who identified with the word “hippie” in their youth.
Before heading into their third song, Robison explained their personal connection to the night’s performance. Growing up, the sisters attended a private school in Dallas and even though the school spent tons of money on facilities, the music program was housed in a trailer.
“The bottom line is that music is important,” Robison said. “It gets us through our lives. That’s why we’re so honored to be here.”
Then the band took off like Usian Bolt hitting the 10-meter mark with an up-tempo, blue grass, toe-tapper called “Phoebe.” The highlight of the song was the hook: “The golden rule you learn in school / boys will be mean / but girls are downright cruel.”