Court Yard Hounds - 'Sunshine'

File:Maguire and Robeson 2010.jpgIt was originally my interest in the Dixie Chicks and respect for Martie Maguire and Emily Robison's musicianship that prompted me to continue to follow the duo's journey as country folk duo Court Yard Hounds - you can find my review of their first album here.The duo have recently announced their sophomore album Amelita will be released on 16th July and this was preceded by a four song EP entitled Sunshine - which was released on 11th June. This is a really strong EP from a duo who indirectly have countless number ones and awards.
Title track (and lead single) Sunshine really stands out for me. As with the previous album Emily Robison takes lead vocals with Martie Maguire on harmonies, both women also play a long list of different instruments. The summery feel behind the track is thanks to the catchy banjo hook throughout and suits the duo well. I do also feel that it's currently one of the stand-out tracks from the whole of the country-folk genre. The instrumentalisation is at a perfect level and the song as a whole merges both the music of Court Yard Hounds and the Dixie Chicks to make a cohesive, catchy tune that I think will gain the duo a lot of new fans.

Sunshine is followed by another strong track Amelita. This will be the title track of the forthcoming album and we get to see more of a spotlight on Martie's fiddle skills throughout the instrumentalisation. The driving drum beat and general upbeat feel makes me think this will be a great track to see live. Whilst being an up-beat, catchy track it also delivers substance in terms of the lyrics and the excellent musicianship.

Whilst I originally found Aimless Upward a little bland compared to the previous two tracks, after listening to it a few times I found it easy to appreciate the stripped back feel to the track. Whilst less up-beat than Sunshine and Amelita there is certainly something in this track that will appeal to both Court Yard Hounds old fans and new listeners. The EP also includes Are You Man Enough? featuring Ryan Adams. I find this track a little dull compared to the others as it doesn't seem to have enough progression to hold the listener's attention.

Sunshine track listing....
1) Sunshine
2) Amelita
3) Aimless Upward
4) Are You Man Enough?

Sunshine EP is available in both the US and internationally now and Amelita will be released on 16th July. Sunshine is a good introduction to the duo if you haven't heard their music before and I would probably recommend purchasing the EP before the album if that is the case. I am however sure that Amelita is going to be a very strong album and I look forward to hearing it!