Who says it’s hard to get good help these days? With the aid of some enterprising youngsters (some of their own, plus friends), Emily Robison and Martie Maguire of the Court Yard Hounds romped it up at the Austin Kiddie Limits stage Friday afternoon.
With Emily on banjo and sister Martie on fiddle, the five young girls Irish danced their way through a jig (or a reel, I can never remember which is which), sang backup vocals to the Hounds’ “Sunshine” and even essayed two of their own compositions, including a surprisingly mature break-up song, “Call Your Girlfriend.”
Both proud moms happily took a backseat to the pint-sized chorus, happy to be members of the audience for once.
A couple of hours previously, things were more, ah, grown up as the Hounds performed their full set on the Lady Bird Stage. Borrowing songs from their two albums, the band put their instrumental prowess and sisterly harmonies on full display, ranging in pace and mood from the Tex-Mex-flavored “Amelita” (lovely melody, grim subject matter) to the sultry, breezy “I Miss You” (a sonic analogue to the humid weather) and full-throated, aptly titled “Rock All Night.”
As a lagniappe of sorts, the women ripped a newgrass path through their Grammy-winning instrumental, “Lil Jack Slade.” It was their only nod to the other band the sisters have a hand in—the Dixie Chicks. The Chicks are officially still a going concern. But the Court Yard Hounds, as they have aptly proven, are no one’s side project.