Court Yard Hounds + The Abrams Brothers

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Casual fans of the Dixie Chicks might not know that Emily Robison and Martie Maguire played together for years before Natalie Maines joined the group, boosting its profile to the point that Maines’s 2003 criticism of President Bush touched off a global shitstorm. But there’s no mistaking the intimate bond at work in Court Yard Hounds, the sisters’ appealingly low-key side project: On their lovely self-titled debut from last year, Robison and Maguire harmonize with family-borne precision over lived-in arrangements that cross rootsy string-band folk with sunny West Coast pop. One of their songs, “Ain’t No Son,” was inspired by the struggle some gay kids face coming out to their families; expect a spirited rendition here in the wake of New York’s legalizing same-sex marriage.

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