100 Greatest Women, #12: Dixie Chicks

100 Greatest Women

#12

Dixie Chicks

They went from being the one act everyone could agree on to the most controversial country band in history, but despite the changes in the climate surrounding them, one thing about the Dixie Chicks has always remained constant: their indisputable musical excellence.

The story of the Dixie Chicks begins in Texas, with two musically talented sisters named Martie and Emily Irwin. Martie was quite adept on the fiddle as a child, and when Emily started showing interest in the instrument as well, Martie pushed her younger sister into learning different instruments instead. By their teenage years, Martie was a skilled on the fiddle, mandolin and viola, while Emily specialized in the banjo and dobro.

The girls were eager to perform professionally, and in 1989, they joined up with fellow musicians Laura Lynch and Robin Lynn Macy to create a bluegrass band. Inspired by the Little Feat song “Dixie Chicken”, they called themselves the Dixie Chicks. With Macy on lead vocals, the band started playing for tips on street corners. Soon, they were performing in local clubs, and their reputation spread quickly across the Dallas area. They adopted a kitschy cowgirl image, wearing vintage western wear as they played their bluegrass songs.

By 1990, they had enough of a fan base to justify recording an album. Their first collection, Thank Heavens for Dale Evans, featured traditional bluegrass and western songs, including a cover of Patsy Montana’s “I Want to Be a Cowboy’s Sweetheart.” Martie was credited with many of the arrangements of the songs, and the quartet showed some musical ambition by transforming the Sam Cooke classic “Bring it On Home to Me” into a bluegrass number that closed the set.

The group’s popularity in Texas continued to grow, and after releasing the one-off 1991 single “Home on the Radar Range”, they went back into the studio to record their second album, 1992′s Little Ol’ Cowgirl. They inched closer to mainstream country on this album, though still demonstrating their musical chops, with Emily playing something called the “guitjo” on some of the tracks. Lead singer Robin Lynn Macy co-wrote some of the tracks, but after the album’s release she quit the band, reportedly in protest of the group moving away from its bluegrass roots.

Now a trio, they moved in a more contemporary direction with their third set, 1993′s Shouldn’t A Told You That. Laura Lynch took over almost all of the lead vocals, though the closing track “I Wasn’t Looking For You” has Martie singing lead, the only time that one of the sisters has ever been up front on record. The Chicks culled from some of the best alternative country and Americana writers of the day, including Radney Foster, Jamie O’Hara and Jim Lauderdale, and also cut a song co-written by rising writer Kim Richey.

Still, the album didn’t do much to raise the national profile of the Chicks, and despite their regional success, Nashville showed no interest. Martie and Emily felt that they needed to go in a bolder musical direction, and that doing so wasn’t possible with Lynch as their lead vocalist. After parting amicably with her, they started to search for a new lead singer. Lloyd Maines, a famed steel guitar player who had played on their second album, had passed on a tape of his daughter Natalie, and the sisters were blown away. In late 1995, Natalie Maines became the lead singer of the Dixie Chicks.

With her powerful, contemporary voice up front, the Chicks were suddenly a much more appealing band to Music Row executives. Sony Records signed them to a deal in 1997, and used them as the launching act for the revived Monument imprint. The Chicks insisted on playing their own instruments in the studio, a rarity for established country bands, let alone new ones. They also insisted that the banjo be featured prominently on the title track of their fourth album, Wide Open Spaces.

The album was released to critical acclaim, and after the lead single “I Can Love You Better” went top ten, the trio scored three consecutive #1 singles. Album sales were strong from the start, and in the fall of 1998, the Chicks won the CMA Horizon Award and were also named Vocal Group of the Year. The following February, they won a pair of Grammys, including a shocking win for Best Country Album over the heavily favored Shania Twain. Wide Open Spaces was also named Album of the Year at the ACM’s in 1999, and the CMA’s named the title cut Single and Video of the Year the following fall, where they received a surprise nomination for Entertainer of the Year, despite still being an opening act at the time.

As their breakthrough set moved toward eventual sales of 12 million, the Chicks prepared their follow-up set, the ambitious Fly. Whereas their first album for Sony had been a fairly typical mainstream country set, Fly pushed the envelope. The trio included songs by Austin songwriters Patty Griffin (“Let Him Fly”) and Darrell Scott (“Heartbreak Town”), sang pure honky-tonk on “Hello Mr. Heartache”, and fully showcased the breadth of Martie and Emily’s instrumental skills on “Sin Wagon.” That song was one of a few that the girls had a hand in writing, and it was a raunchy number that had Natalie hitting the town looking to “do a little mattress dancin’.”

The album was another huge hit with critics and sold more than ten million copies, producing eight hit singles, two of which became signature hits for the band – the wistful romantic song “Cowboy Take Me Away” and the dark comedy “Goodbye Earl.” The Chicks launched a hugely successful headlining tour, and they dominated at the industry awards, winning four CMA’s, three ACM’s and two Grammys for the project. They became the first country band in history to be nominated for the prestigious Album of the Year Grammy when Fly was cited in 2000.

However, a network special in which Dan Rather questioned the Chicks on the financial windfalls they weren’t receiving from their massive record sales led to the Chicks suing their record label for “systematic thievery.” As the legal tensions mounted, the Chicks withdrew from the public stage, though that was driven more by the families they were beginning than the legal drama. While nesting in their Texas homes, they decided they wanted to record an acoustic album. Feeling that they weren’t really signed to a label at the time, they recorded the album at home, co-producing with Natalie’s father Lloyd.

The set featured no drums and only acoustic instruments, and found the Chicks covering their favorite songwriters Patty Griffin (“Truth No. 2″ and “Top of the World”), Darrell Scott (“Long Time Gone”) and Bruce Robison (“Travelin’ Soldier.”) The Chicks titled the set Home, and had planned to release it through their fan club. But Sony settled their lawsuit, gave the Chicks their own label imprint Open Wide, and loved the side project so much that they chose to release it as the follow-up to Fly.

The Chicks didn’t expect the album to do well, but it ended up the fastest-selling album of their career. They received their strongest reviews to date, scored a major crossover hit with “Landslide” and by the time they won three Grammys for the collection in February of 2003, the album had sold five million copies in only a few months. The Chicks announced a massive international tour on the same day that they sang the National Anthem at the Super Bowl, and tickets sold out in only two days.

Meanwhile, the United States and England were preparing to invade Iraq, and on the day that the Chicks played London, the largest anti-war protest in English history had just occurred. That night, after performing “Travelin’ Soldier”, Natalie Maines said the fateful words, “We’re on the good side with y’all. We don’t want this war. We don’t want this violence, and we’re ashamed the President of the United States is from Texas.”

And then, all hell broke loose. The American news wires caught wind of the story, radio boycotts followed, and the Dixie Chicks went from being the all-American band to the most polarizing group in the country. The music hadn’t changed, but it became the first casualty of the uproar, as their #1 single “Travelin’ Soldier” dropped off the charts completely in the two weeks that followed. The Chicks dealt with death threats on the road, and their names were roundly booed at the country award shows that they stopped attending. Maines issued a half-hearted apology to the office of the president, but the group stood their ground on the war and refused to apologize for their beliefs.

The group issued a live CD and DVD chronicling their tour, but aside from a few appearances on the Vote for Change Tour in 2004, they remained out of the public eye. As their families expanded, they met with producer Rick Rubin, who wanted to produce their first post-controversy album. He thought it was important that they write the entire album, which was something they had never done before. Over the course of two years, they wrote and re-wrote songs, collaborating with Dan Wilson of Semisonic, Sheryl Crow and Linda Perry, among others.

The controversy liberated them to reveal themselves on record, and the album that was created, aptly titled Taking the Long Way, found the Chicks singing candidly about infertility (“So Hard”), spousal abuse (“I Hope”), fair-weather friends (“Bitter End”) and family illness (“Silent House”).

The Chicks also directly confronted the controversy for the first time, on the cathartic first single “Not Ready to Make Nice.” The song was played heavily on country radio at first, but died out quickly once the message of the song sank in. Despite it not being a radio hit, the song was a smash, becoming a top-selling digital single and helping Taking the Long Way sell more than half a million copies in its first week. The Chicks made the cover of Time magazine, and the album finished the year in the top ten of all genres. Meanwhile, the Chicks completed their third international tour, and were featured in the documentary Shut Up and Sing, which focused on the aftermath of the controversy and the writing and recording of the album that grew out of it.

Given that it was the best-reviewed country album of 2006, and that the Chicks had already won eight Grammys, it wasn’t a surprise that they received five more nominations. The Chicks made history when they actually swept all five categories, winning two country Grammys and all three of the general races: Album of the Year for Taking the Long Way and Record and Song of the Year for “Not Ready to Make Nice.” They are the only country act in history to sweep the big three, and the stunning victories renewed interest in the album, pushing it past double platinum in the weeks that followed.

Since their big night at the Grammys, the Chicks have again retreated from public view, aside from a few performances with the Eagles in 2007. Maines guested on the new Neil Diamond record, and the band is reportedly writing songs for their next album, the musical direction of which is a complete mystery. Meanwhile, while country radio doesn’t play them anymore, the sounds that they brought back to the forefront have remained. The young acts that they have influenced are beginning to break through, most notably Miranda Lambert, who also shares a manager with them.

After proving that an all-girl band can play their own instruments and keep it country, and still outsell and outshine all of the men, the Dixie Chicks have now shown how a band can stick to its guns and chart a successful course without depending on radio. Whatever the future brings, they’ve already secured their place in country music history.

Dixie Chicks

Essential Singles

  • “Wide Open Spaces,” 1998
  • “Cowboy Take Me Away,” 1999
  • “Goodbye Earl,” 2000
  • “Sin Wagon,” 2000
  • “Long Time Gone,” 2002
  • “Landslide,” 2002
  • “Travelin’ Soldier,” 2003
  • “Not Ready to Make Nice,” 2006

Essential Albums

  • Wide Open Spaces (1998)
  • Fly (1999)
  • Home (2002)
  • Taking the Long Way (2006)

Industry Awards

  • ACM Album (Wide Open Spaces), 1999
  • ACM Top New Vocal Duet or Group, 1999
  • ACM Top Vocal Duo/Group, 1999 & 2000
  • ACM Album (Fly), 2000
  • ACM Entertainer, 2001
  • ACM Top Vocal Group, 2001
  • ACM Video (“Goodbye Earl”), 2001
  • CMA Horizon Award, 1998
  • CMA Vocal Group, 1998, 1999, 2000 & 2002
  • CMA Single (“Wide Open Spaces”), 1999
  • CMA Video (“Wide Open Spaces”), 1999
  • CMA Album (Fly), 2000
  • CMA Entertainer, 2000
  • CMA Video (“Goodbye Earl”), 2000
  • Grammy: Best Country Album (Wide Open Spaces), 1999
  • Grammy: Best Country Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group (“There’s Your Trouble”), 1999
  • Grammy: Best Country Album (Fly), 2000
  • Grammy: Best Country Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group (“Ready to Run”), 2000
  • Grammy: Best Country Album (Home), 2003
  • Grammy: Best Country Instrumental Performance (“Lil Jack Slade”), 2003
  • Grammy: Best Country Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group (“Long Time Gone”), 2003
  • Grammy: Best Country Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group (“Top of the World”), 2005
  • Grammy: Album of the Year (Taking the Long Way), 2007
  • Grammy: Best Country Album (Taking the Long Way), 2007
  • Grammy: Best Country Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group (“Not Ready to Make Nice”), 2007
  • Grammy: Record of the Year (“Not Ready to Make Nice”), 2007
  • Grammy: Song of the Year (“Not Ready to Make Nice”), 2007

==> #11. Alison Krauss

<== #13. Patty Loveless

100 Greatest Women: The Complete List

Be Sociable, Share!

37 Comments

Filed under 100 Greatest Women, Features

37 Responses to 100 Greatest Women, #12: Dixie Chicks

  1. LeeannNo Gravatar

    Excellent write-up!!

    “Long Time Gone” is the song that first captured my interest by the Chicks. After falling in love with that song, I was able to go back and appreciate their previous works as well. Natalie has an incredible voice.They’ve got it all, they can write, they have a powerful lead vocalist, perfect harmonies and undeniable command of several instruments.

    It’s too bad that the controversy has derailed their radio success, because I would have loved to see what would have been next in their natural musical progression, which is not to say that I don’t love the direction that they ended up taking.

  2. ccfNo Gravatar

    Can’t wait to see the next 11 and if they are gonna make the list. There is just one I’m not sure about.

  3. Erik NorthNo Gravatar

    There is something to be said for the resilliency of the Dixie Chicks. When all is said and done, they are by any stretch of the imagination the most successful all-female band or group in American pop music history, period–country or otherwise. They really did as much for country music as any other artist or group in the genre’s history; and then they get virtually blackballed from country radio because of one little thing that Natalie said that was taken out of context by the media. Not since John Lennon made that infamous statement in 1966 about the Beatles being “more popular than Jesus Christ” had anything said by any artist in the music business caused that kind of a firestorm.

    That three-year experience of theirs which gave birth to “Taking The Long Way” was a real growing-up period. They were no longer just another girl group, nor a hayseed version of the Spice Girls (which is how some in the media portrayed them when they first broke loose in 1997). They matured into a tremendous unit and attracted many of the same people who had grown up listening to country-rock in the 1970s with “Long Way.” And whether or not the country music industry wants to admit it, these ladies aren’t going to go down without a fight. BRAVO!

  4. Paul W DennisNo Gravatar

    I have them in my top 20 at #18 so I regard this as a bit high, but they’ve certainly been successful, both artistically and financially, although not necessarily both at the same time. After their disappointing last album, which the polical left doted over , I am looking forward to them returning to actually focusing on making good music again

    I purchased their first album THANK HEAVENS FOR DALE EVANS when it first came out in 1991 so I’ve been aware of this group much longer than most of their fans. The first two independent albums were terrific but when Robin Macy, easily the best lead vocalist the group has had, left the Chix were left without a real lead vocalist as the partially deaf Laura Lynch was not up to the task.

    Their first Sony album WIDE OPEN SPACES was a terrific album, and while they have yet to ascend to those heights since, the talent remains there to scale the heights again, should they chose to do so.

  5. Erik,
    I agree with what you wrote, though I think that their growing up actually happened between Fly and Home. It’s clear with Home and Taking the Long Way that there aren’t any artistic compromises being made. The music just comes from a purer place. Both of those albums rank among my favorites of all-time.

  6. Hell yeah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The Chicks deserve to be in the top 10, but I’ll settle for this, these girls are so underappreciated after their comments about Bush, comments that over half the country have agreed with in one way or another along the way, and it good to see them gain the credit they deserve here, awsome.

  7. CF

    Great to see them this high: well deserved. Can’t wait to hear new music from them.

  8. SamNo Gravatar

    Is it still possible to get hold of the older albums anywhere?

  9. Love of CountryNo Gravatar

    Are you kidding me? What is wrong with you people? The ‘Chicks’ may have a good sound – style wise, but I can’t stand to listen to Natalie sing! She sounds like she is holding her nose shut….YUCK! Couldn’t they find anyone better for vocals? And I think that their political views stink….I am pleased that their radio play is in the toilet. Serves them right!

  10. Erik NorthNo Gravatar

    You’re entitled to your opinions about the Chicks and their politics, but knock it off with the personal insults against their fans here!

  11. Erik NorthNo Gravatar

    I think a lot of this country was caught up in the fervor of hyper-patriotism, and we were willing to believe anything the Bush Administration told us about Iraq and its supposed connection to the 9/11 attacks (which have long since been thoroughly discredited). Nobody wanted to rock the boat, so to speak. But Natalie did…unintentionally.

    Could she have stated her opinion better, or on U.S. soil, as opposed to London? Sure. Whether it would have made that much of a difference, however, is pure speculation. The patriotism level in America in March 2003, albeit under false premises, was at an all-time high; and anyone who even attempted to call the Bush junta to the carpet risked getting slammed.

    What I find perversely funny about the pro-war crowd who trashed the Chicks and defended Bush’s status as being from Texas is that he isn’t even a native of that state to begin with, and neither is his father. They’re both from Connecticut, thus they are, to use a famous Civil War term, Carpetbaggers. So much for that.

    And Kevin, you are right about the period between FLY and HOME being their growing up period, now that I think about it. At the same time, it has to be said that TAKING THE LONG WAY was a very cathartic record for them in ways that most of us might not be able to imagine, since it dealt not only with the war and the violent reaction to Natalie’s Bushwhacking, but pregnancy, motherhood, loss of parents to Alzheimer’s, and all the other things that consumed the Chicks in those tumultuous three years. This kind of personal expression is not something we see every day of the week in country music like we used to, and it’s something to behold when it IS done.

  12. Comments that are not about the music and are focused on the political brouhaha are being deleted. I could have very easily used this post as a platform to discuss their political views, but I was careful not to, as the whole point of this list is about the music. If you want to bash the Dixie Chicks for their politics, and those who share similar views, please do it somewhere else.

  13. LanibugNo Gravatar

    I love the Chicks – they brought something to country music that had not been seen in a long time – women playing their own instruments and in the studio no less – and used steel guitar, dobro and other instruments that you did not hear on the radio at that time and made it OK for others to do – and I for one love Natalies voice and I love the Chicks for their music and that is all – because they make great music and they are great entertainers.

    What more could you want.

  14. Rodney in South Carolina

    I was there in May of 2003 when the Chicks opened their US tour in South Carolina at the BI-LO Center…needless to say that there were a handful of protestors outside…but inside were thousands of fans who absolutely supported and appreciated the ladies for the great artists they are. HOME is a masterpiece that should be included in anybody’s list of “THE ABSOLUTE ALBUMS THAT ALL COUNTRY MUSIC FANS SHOULD POSSESS!!!

  15. JarheadDadNo Gravatar

    Fair enough Kevin but you only chose one side. One remains. An entire post of it.

    “Comments that are not about the music and are focused on the political brouhaha are being deleted.” – except those I believe? Heh!

    Hey! it’s your blog so whatever floats your boat. Good luck separating the two. A daunting task considering how intertwined they are. Even the lyrics point to it.

  16. Jarhead,
    I think I caught all of them that were only about politics. I’m not seeing any others that don’t at least talk about the music. And you’re incorrect, as I deleted comments on both sides of the argument. I have no interest in this thread being used to hash out political views, and your comment in particular escalated the rhetoric, bringing political leaders and the military into it. That was bound to lead to people on the left firing back, and I wanted to nip the argument in the bud before the thread was out of control and there was no room to talk about the Chicks in terms of their music. That actually can be done, and is done often. I do believe Leeann was able to write an entire review of Toby Keith’s 35 Biggest Hits without delving into his politics, despite how they shaped some of the hits on that disc. Unless one has a political axe to grind, it’s quite easy to just talk about the music, even if it’s somewhat political in nature (which the latest Chicks album wasn’t, not even in the slightest.)

  17. JarheadDadNo Gravatar

    He-he! Yeah, I guess after being a Kos Kid you wouldn’t see what is offensive to us but that’s OK. Been down this road before. Many times. I spoke all about the music in the first post.

    Keepin’ Off The Grass! ;-)

  18. A “Kos Kid”? Not quite sure what that is, but it sounds pretty darn condescending.

  19. JarheadDadNo Gravatar

    Naw, it wasn’t condescending. Statement of fact. You’ve said many times that you hung out at Marcos’ place. To a military person that is about the most offensive place there is. Rates right up there with the muj sites that exploit the deaths of our people. You saw what is was and left or I wouldn’t be here. It does slant your view though if you can’t see what is offensive to us and what is not. There are plenty of fighting words in the post you left up but like I said, it’s your site. If I wanted to take you to task I would. In no uncertain terms. Straight up. That’s the way I’m wired. If I didn’t admire your work here I wouldn’t look back. Welcome to the abyss!

    Tough to separate the politics from the artist isn’t it? Especially when it is as volatile as this one is.

  20. Actually, I haven’t said it multiple times. I said it once, and it was a critical comment about the site, not a positive one. You’ve managed to project an entire world view onto me based on incorrect information, which is pretty ridiculous. I happen to come from a military family, including my father who now rests in a national cemetery. You have made so many erroneous assumptions about who I am and what I believe on the flimsiest amount of information, which is actually beyond condescending. It’s arrogant and offensive.

  21. JarheadDadNo Gravatar

    Well butter my butt and call me Biscuit! Stepped into that one eh? Congrats, you are the first person that hung out at Kos that has any semblence of intelligence! I “projected” what I know to be true about that site and the people that inhabit it. Since you are not of that stripe I apologize. There is not one thing in the world flimsy about those people and that site. You’d understand if you were the one that got to watch your son die from a video placed on that site by the very enemies we face. And supported by the cretins that dwell there. Nothing ridiculous about it!

    You are military and hung out at Kos? Sorry, don’t get that one. Makes no sense.

    Arrogant and offensive? Now you know how I feel about the post you left up. Feels good doesn’t it? Since I’ve so offended you and I believe you to be of fine mettle I’ll leave it to you. It was not my intention but stuff happens eh?!

    BTW, Fair Winds to you and your Dad. He was one hellova’ man to rate!

    S/F
    Watt

  22. I just want to say that I’ll be very interested to see how history and especially future artists regard the Chicks. On one hand they could be heralded as one of the most influential acts (and certainly the most influential group) to come out of this generation and “the incident” could become nothing but an interesting footnote; on the other, if the big country music media (CMT, GAC, Country Weekly, of course radio, etc.) continue to disregard the group’s very existence for the sake of appeasing the more easily-offended masses, their impact could just as well be overlooked for some time to come (after all, many of tomorrow’s artists are listening to today’s radio). So I wonder how long it will take for their name to lose its taboo status. I predict that somewhere down the line, some intelligent young female artist or two is going to boldly cite them as an influence and that’s going to open back up the channels for them. Let’s hope it’s sooner rather than later.

  23. Jake aka etc. etc. -

    Good for her, and thanks for the info!

  24. CharlieNo Gravatar

    @jarhead-
    ooh rah buddy. nothing but respect for the marines and what they do. my future father-in-law and several close family friends were leathernecks as well. However, in the context of the discourse above, I would encourage you to follow another famous Marine saying “If You Weren’t There….” you know the rest. Kevin runs a great site here, and you shouldn’t take shots at him, intentional or not. Once we descend into personal attacks or criticisms, however right or justified we might feel, we lose what makes this site great.

  25. First of all, I prefer Fly to Taking The Long Way, just because i think TTLW falls apart after track #6. The first half? Brilliant. The rest? Boring.

    Second of all, I’m a “Kos Kid” and I wholeheartedly support the troops. In fact, my brother has been in the Army for nearly twenty years. I support the troops so much, in fact, that I’m willing to fight to bring them home so they’re not getting blown up by IEDs on roadsides in Iraq.

    Spouting a bunch of catch-phrases about “fighting for freedom” has nothing to do with supporting our troops. bringing them home does. Making sure they are provided with the equipment they need does. I support the troops. I don’t support the policies that have them in Iraq. There’s a difference.

  26. JarheadDadNo Gravatar

    Start a thread on a neutral site and we’ll discuss it Jim. But not here. Kevin has already made his wishes known and I’ll respect them. Let me know where you’d like to take it. I’ll be leaving shortly for points South but if the company has private internet access down there I’ll be happy to debate. Passionately! If not I’ll catch up to you when I get back.

  27. Didn’t mean to offend Kevin by posting OT. I just don’t appreciate sweeping generalizations which include me. I would never imply that all of my conservative friends share the same viewpoints.

  28. Jarhead, Jim,

    I overreacted by censoring comments and I apologize. I don’t want to stifle conversation between readers, but I also don’t want topic threads going too off-topic. I’m starting open threads now, with situations like this in mind. I just put the first one up. I hope you continue your conversation there.

  29. J.No Gravatar

    Re. the music–I think the Chicks are simply amazing and have single handedly transformed me into a country music fan after discovering Fly two months ago. Within a week, I had gotten hold of their other three albums and since then, I have probably listened to over 300 hours of their music. I think all their albums are great, just different. Every time I listen to any album in its entirety, I think it’s terrific–but they are evolving/changing on each album.

    @Jim, their last, TTLW–I know what you’re talking about re. the album falling off after the first half. I think this is intentional–the album starts out with strong country grounding, guitars, banjo, fiddle, and all the rest. The lyrics are all very personal, and the music is just complete master craftsmanship, really excellent songs. Not Ready to Make Nice–when those violins kick in, it’s like this emotional five exclamation point salute that sucks you in. Then, with track 7, you hit the most country song on the album, Lubbock or Leave It–the closest inheritor of a Goodbye Earl/Sin Wagon rouser. The banjo hook on this song is mind blowing–I beg anyone to disagree–but I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the most country song on the album is also the most pointed jab at hypocrisy.

    I think that starting with track 8, Silent House, which was co-written w/ Crowded House’s Finn, they’re basically beginning their slow dance away from country. I think they had to realize that after releasing this album, with it’s intense personal truth re. their feelings after Natalie’s comment (blackballed from radio, ridicule from many in the country community, lack of support from pretty much everybody else in the country community) that the break with country was going to be permanent.

    So each song after 7 gets successively less country until you hit the almost gospel/r&b I Hope, co-written with Keb ‘Mo. It’s just a different music aesthetic and I kind of felt what you felt at first, but if you listen to the second half closely, I think each of these songs is just as strong musically as the first half, just, again, different. I think they succeed with the transition. Lyrically, I think the album is their most cohesive work (probably because they wrote all the songs and so many of them reference a personal point of view), and the songs are all, I think, more complex to boot.

    I love their hits, there’s a reason why the singles are chart toppers, but I find myself coming back to this album again and again. Then, I’ll listen to Home. Then Fly. Then Wide Open Spaces….

  30. I really am shocked that people don’t give them such a hard time. They have been brave and open enough to open different doors in the Country Music scene

  31. AllanLCampbellNo Gravatar

    It’s interesting you put so much history of the Dixie Chicks before Natalie. The Dixie Chicks began with Natalie and their album Wide Open Spaces. I first became fan of them in 1998 when their first songs became hits. Krty the station in San Jose, Ca is still playing those songs after all these years. Those songs are “I Can Love You Better” “There’s Your Trouble” and “Wide Open Spaces.” The Chicks have always made great videos since their first video. They have also always been great album artists. Their four albums are great Wide Open Spaces, Fly Home and Taking the Long Way. The Chicks are always been different and always have had influences from outside country like including a Bonnie Raitt song “Give It Up or Let Me Go” on Wide Open Spaces. Landslide is a Fleetwood Mac song. You got it wrong on Britain. It is Great Britain and the British people including Scotland and Wales not just England from a proud Scottish descendant. It’s amazing that the Dixie Chicks won all those awards on the Grammys including the all genre categories in 2006. The Dixie Chicks are one of the my favorites and one of the best female singers and groups ever.

  32. J.No Gravatar

    So, was just watching a little CMT this morning before work (first time) and I have to say, I think it’s amazing that Snoop Doggy Dog is on CMT and the Dixie Chicks are like as to have never existed. Not to take anything away from SDD, he wasn’t too bad (though I wasn’t really paying attention to his lyrics), it’s just a crazy country world we live in.

  33. JCNo Gravatar

    It’s great to see the Dixie Chicks on the list. I hope the music will define the Chicks again very soon.

  34. PatrickNo Gravatar

    CMT ranked them as #13, so both lists are pretty similar

  35. PatrickNo Gravatar

    Anyways, it was Home that really got me into country music. Of course, Patsy Cline helped too

  36. KatieRNo Gravatar

    yay! :) Love it. Chicks are without a doubt my fave band!! Have been since “Goodbye Earl” which has to be one of THE most genius songs ever, lol.

    Sorry you had to deal with the political garbage that follows the Chicks, Kevin :( Somehow I imagine if they’d have pulled a “Kanye”, it would have gone over better. Sad, isn’t it?

    I call radio stations still now, and they won’t play them. Or, they will, but it takes a week. It’s sad to know that songs like “Wide Open Spaces”, “Cowboy Take Me Away”, “Travelin’ Soldier”, and “Top of the World” will likely never be heard on country radio again in most parts of the country (or very infrequently).

  37. The stations down here play the Chicks once in a while, though not often. I actually heard “If I Fall You’re Going Down with Me” on the radio just a few days ago. Sometimes they also play “Long Time Gone” or “Cowboy Take Me Away.” Always puts me in the best mood ever!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

This site is using OpenAvatar based on