Court Yard Hounds Support Gays Through Song
Dixie Chicks members Natalie Maines, Emily Robison and Martie Maguire are notorious for bravely speaking their minds about issues important to them. Emily and Martie have continued to be outspoken with their new duo, Court Yard Hounds, most notably through their thought-provoking song, 'Ain't No Son,' which was written in response to a film that Emily found disturbing.
"We wrote it after Emily had watched a documentary about families who throw their young boys out of the house when they find out they're gay," Martie tells the Australian newspaper Star Observer. "She was really disturbed by that mentality. She doesn't like having to sing it from the father's perspective, because she really has to become that person when she's singing it."
The song, which includes lyrics such as, "You ain't no son of mine / Forget it girls, there ain't no use in tryin'," is intended to make people aware of the dangers of a prejudicial mindset. But while the sisters believe in the power of the song, it's the a capella intro, delivered from the viewpoint of the ostracized son, that sets the tone for the emotionally-charged tune: "I got something to say / I'm scared and so afraid / Can you take me as I am? / Come what may, our blood is all the same / I'm still your little man."
The Dixie Chicks, who made headlines all over the world after Natalie Maines' comment about then-President Bush in 2003, were ousted from their position as country music's sweethearts in the aftermath, watching both record sales and radio success dwindle. Martie says it is because of that moment, and Natalie's boldness, that she is able to sing about gay rights without fearing backlash from their conservative fans.
"I didn't realize how polarized an industry like music can be," she acknowledges. "We grew up in the South, but in a very liberal household -- both our parents are from the Northeast. I was just oblivious to the fact that the country scene was socially backward and politically opposite of everything I am."
The girls are clear that their debut self-titled CD is a separate entity entirely from their work as part of the Dixie Chicks, even though they are immensely proud of both acts. "The songs [on the Court Yard Hounds CD] were very personal to Emily when she wrote them," Martie tells The Boot, "so we felt like that in itself -- even though we all three wrote for the Chicks album -- this time it was kind of Emily's meditative writing on her own and singing her own songs and telling her own stories. That was a strong way to start with a totally different sound."
The Court Yard Hounds will perform songs from their album at London's prestigious Union Chapel next month. See their tour schedule here.