Court Yard Hounds, Indigo Girls Ignite Last Lilith Fair
Sisters Emily Robison and Martie Maguire are two thirds of the best-selling female band in music history — the Dixie Chicks. But the duo, who now perform as the Court Yard Hounds, were almost dirt-kickingly modest during their Washington, D.C. area debut at the last Lilith Fair performance of 2010. They called the Hounds a “baby band” and talked about staying in low-end motels versus the five-star digs that are part of the Chicks’ success.
As one audience member at the August 3 show said, “that’s a nice sentiment, but…” If the high-end fashion didn’t give away their star status, their powerhouse performance – which featured a full band with two lead guitar players — sure did. Clearly, the sisters are a very contemporary twist on the ultra elegant, immensely talented past queens of country.
Moving through their songs including ‘Then Again,’ ‘Let the Caged Bird Sing,’ and ‘See You in the Spring‘ — even adding the Dixie Chicks tune ‘Lil’ Jack Slade‘ — the sisters’ brought a country meets Laurel Canyon rockers’ vibe to the Fair that even included Lilith Fair founder Sarah McLachlan singing with them at one point.
“When we were younger, we would travel all over going to bluegrass festivals,” said Martie. “This is reminiscent of what we grew up with.”
Although Lilith Fair had a rotating cast of performers and had to cut some big names — including Loretta Lynn and Kelly Clarkson (according to The Washington Post) — the country and Americana performers that played the last show in Maryland did the formats proud.
“Welcome to the very last Lilith,” Sarah McLachlan announced from the stage, causing swift intakes of breathe from many in the often-dancing crowd before she continued, ” … of 2010.”
While it’s true no one knows if there will definitely be a next Lilith, the Maryland crowd and performers seemed content to enjoy the moment.
The Indigo Girls (Amy Ray and Emily Saliers) spoke of the tough economic and cultural times in the U.S. as they went through a set that was something akin to a 1960s rock show with famous guest after famous guest — in this case everyone from Sarah to Missy Higgins and Butterfly Boucher — joining them on stage.
“One of the great things about Lilith is the chance to perform with others,” said Amy. “Emily and I go and knock down doors until they agree to sing with us.”
Although the Girls and one multi-instrumentalist offered hard-charging versions of such classics as ‘Digging for Your Dream,’ and ‘Galileo,’ the highlight had to be their ultra passionate, full-on rendition of ‘Chickenman‘ that had audience members stomping and dancing. Anyone who wonders why Indigo Girls’ fans insisted they put out their recent live album, ‘Staring Down the Perfect Dream,’ need only have seen this show to know the answer.
While the main stage performers were all one could hope, the side stages also boasted an array of talent including new country/Americana artist, Lissie. The Illinois-raised singer/songwriter has been something of a phenomenon in the U.K. since the June release of her debut album, ‘Catching a Tiger.’ Despite triple-digit temperatures and brutal humidity, Lissie and her band’s hard driving energy would rival any arena style rocker.
Lissie’s 30-minute set included the new song ‘Bully,’ which will likely be the first U.S. single when her album is released in the U.S. later this month, along with ‘Why You Runnin” off the EP of the same name.
“When I found out I got to play Lilith, it was a real accomplishment for me,” Lissie tells The Boot, talking about how she attended Lilith with her cousin when she was 16 and was enraptured by the vocals performances of Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks and Sarah McLachlan. “I remember just thinking I wanted to do this.”