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John Lamb, Published July 31 2013

Singing sisters: Dixie Chicks due come to Fargo as the Court Yard Hounds

FARGO – The lead singer is the front person in a band and, as such, often becomes the face of the act.

Such is the case with the Dixie Chicks. Despite founding the group in 1989, sisters Martie Maguire and Emily Robison were often overshadowed by Natalie Maines’ powerful voice and equally strong persona.(It was, after all, Maines who blasted Toby Keith and President George W. Bush a decade ago, leading to a backlash against the Chicks.)

Maguire and Robison have always been the core of the act, writing more songs than Maines.

With the Dixie Chicks on hiatus, the singing sisters showcase their other act, Court Yard Hounds, tonight at the Fargo Theatre.

The lowly name is deceiving. The sisters still harmonize beautifully on the new disc, “Amelita,” which came out last month.

Maguire not only gets to show off her chops as the lead vocalist but continues to impress with her picking, both on banjo and guitar. Sister Emily may remain a backing vocalist, but her fiddle playing adds bright touches on tunes like the bright first single, “Sunshine.”

Maguire and Robison step up, with a hand writing most of the songs, but even Maines pitched in on “Phoebe.”

With the Chicks’ future up in the air (Maines released a solo album in May), those fans still bummed that the trio canceled their last scheduled Fargodome show in 2006 will want to check out how this duo does on their own.

The show is part of Bud Light’s 50/50/1, which presents a show in each state on the same day.

Readers can reach Forum reporter John Lamb at (701) 241-5533