When Natalie Maines needed more time to get ready for a new album, the country band Dixie Chicks came to a momentary halt. The remaining two, Martie Maguire and Emily Robison, decided to embark on a side project under the name Court Yard Hounds, which comes straight out of a David Benioff novel. Turns out, their debut is pretty remarkable.What’s the difference? What should you expect?

The sister duo have released a self-titled album of outstanding merit that’s fresh, delightful and peppy. The Hounds capture various elements: country, rock, acoustic and folk. Robison is the lead vocalist and dabbles on various instruments; she plucks the strings of a banjo, acoustic and electric guitar, dobro and resonator guitar. Maguire does harmony vocals and plays the fiddle and viola.

Women: Grab your gal friends, let down your hair, wear that sparkly mini-dress and slip on your knee-high cowboy boots, it’s the kind of music you want to revel in or unwind with.

Men: This might sound like another ‘girl-power’ country album that touches on the topics of fairy tales and heartbreaks, but grab one for yourself. Hey, if you don’t like it, easy: Simply wrap it up, write a short note that reads: “Life is good today,” and pass it along.

Grade: B+

Court Yard Hounds is currently available.