Natalie Maines and Ben Harper to Tour

Natalie Maines and Ben Harper

Maines and Harper talk "Mother" album, reveal that Dixie Chicks sidegroup The Court Yard Hounds are working on a second album

Natalie Maines and Ben Harper are plotting a tour together to support the Dixie Chicks singer's debut solo album, "Mother."

"I get to be a sideman!" Harper, who co-produced the album, out May 7, told Billboard at the MusiCares event in Los Angeles over the weekend, where they performed "Atlantic City" with Charlie Musselwhite.

Maines said they're working out details for the tour, but it's possible they'll play shows "before and after" her July festival dates with the Dixie Chicks. "There's really no plan for the Chicks after that," she warned.

The native Texan stressed that her fellow Chicks Martie Maguire and Emily Robison have been nothing but supportive ("We're sisters first") while she focuses on her solo effort. She also revealed the pair have new music on their minds as well, specifically a sophomore album for their own side project.

"They've been working on another Court Yard Hounds album," Maines said. "So they have an album already, just the two of them, and they are doing another one."

As for their own collaboration -- the 10-song "Mother" includes originals and covers by Pink Floyd, Jeff Buckley and others -- Harper said that the longtime friends and neighbors have "always sort of threatened to do something" together and finally did it.

"We weren't really planning on making a record," Harper said. Maines echoed that: "I just didn't go into it with any expectations and we didn't tell anybody. My manager didn't even know I was in the studio until I was 7 songs in [Laughs]. I finally broke it to him. It was all just very slow and it was just right."

With reporting by Nicole Pajer in Los Angeles. Watch more red carpet interviews from Grammy weekend: