Dixie Chicks, “The Long Way Around”

Dixie Chicks, “The Long Way Around”

The Chicks pen and deliver their very own emancipation proclamation with this phenomenal single. Opening with an acoustic guitar hook that borrows heavily from “Go Your Own Way”, the Chicks distill the entire history of their career into 4 1/2 minutes, with lyrical references to “hitting the highway in a pink RV with stars on the ceiling”, and remembering while some rears might have gotten lip action, they “wouldn’t kiss all the asses” they were told to.

The band radiates with a new energy and attitude, and while it sounds nothing like the acoustic sound of their last project, Home, the distinctive musicianship and signature harmonies find new ways to shine. Martie’s fiddle is as prominent and essential to the song as it was on their earlier records.

As the song build to the crescendo that quickly recounts the controversy – “I fought with a stranger and I met myself”, the “I could never follow” line that had been repeated in the early verses take on a new urgency. This bright, jangly record is the perfect anthem for those who are “taking the long way around”, doing things their own way and at their own pace. It’s also the sound of the Chicks taking back control of their own narrative and confidently shedding the one that everyone else had written for them. Grade: A+

Listen Now: The Long Way Around


  1. this entire album is far and away the best thing they have ever done.every word in every song is used brilliantly.they are far and away my favorite band.

  2. I’ve only listened to this song a few times, but it doesn’t do much for me. I loved “Not Ready to Make Nice,” but “The Long Way Around” seems like simply a slightly more intelligent rewrite of the “look how far I’ve come” anthem on every new artist’s first or second album. It’s strange to hear it on this album, because, while I can logically make the correlation between the song’s theme and the recent developments in the Chicks’ career, it’s nowhere near the statement “Not Ready to Make Nice” was and the whole thing just seems forced and artificial. The melody is catchy but the song is not particularly memorable. I’d give it a B or B+.

  3. Taking the Long Way certainly is a fantastic song that chronicles their career from the beginning. The single, in a perfect world, would be a huge hit across the board but alas country will ignore this record altogether.

    The cd in its entirety is excellent and anyone who takes a listen will be pleasantly surprised.

  4. They’re not kicking the horse. They’re taking the long way around it!

    Seriously, though. They’ve done one song directly about it, and this one mentions it in passing. Grand total of two about the most significant event of their career. Given the fact that Cledus T. Judd put out more songs about it than they have, I don’t think much of it.

  5. Fact is, they know the controversy is the only thing pushing their measly sales, so they have to keep putting out songs that mention it. How sad that the most signifigant part of their music career, isnt even about their music. Speaks volumes.

  6. Measly sales? They had the #9 selling album of 2006. Also, I didn’t say it was the most significant part of their career, I said it was the most significant event. It certainly shook up their world and thrust them into a media profile that they weren’t accustomed too, having been America’s sweethearts for the previous few years. The idea that their musical career is somehow dependent on the controversy is ludicrous. They’d already sold tens of millions of albums and won seven Grammys and ten CMA’s before the controversy happened. They were and still are one of the most respected musical talents in the genre’s history. The haters that surfaced since their politics became known show their ignorance of the music every time they bash them like this. Your comments show no indication that you even knew who the Dixie Chicks were before they dared to question Bush’s ill-fated adventure in Mesopotamia.

  7. I didn’t know who the DCX were in 2003 and didn’t until Jan 2007! That set me off on a search to find out about the ‘incident’, and then how the heck it could cause such enormous controversy. What I have found is pretty frightening to a Brit, from a small Western country, therefore. We have to take notice of who’s in power in the USA and how the USA is behaving and thinking. So the continuing polarisation of views about the DCX is deeply worrying as a symptom of the nature of the Superpower we’re allied to. We’re all supposedly fighting for Democracy, but the definitions of democracy in the minds of roughly (very roughly) half the population of the USA is poles apart from the other half. Worrying too is the absolute refusal of much of the American population (never mind media moguls!) to even look for truth and – more importantly – understanding. My journey through DCX-land is a much overdue culture shock, and I’m grateful to them for blazing the trail.

  8. I loved this song the second I bought the cd, I couldn’t get enough of it and my whole family was sining along to it on the drive to their concert. This may not leave as much of an impact as Not Ready to Make Nice does but it will definatley be remembered as a american classic in the future. The whole cd is amazing, so for those bashers stop beating a dead horse you are wrong they have one of the best cds that came out ever! I give this song an A+++

  9. I love this song and I love the Chicks. Like Kevin has mentioned, I didn’t like their first CD too much, but have warmed up to it after enjoying tracks from Fly and absolutely loving Home. Their latest CD is great, though different from Home. I wonder what they would have done if this whole thing hadn’t happened to them?

  10. I missed this review the first time it came out. I love this song! My life has taken so many detours in the last few years. This song gives me hope that the long way might actually be the best way in the end.

    The history aspect to the song is also great, because this album brought the Chicks so many new fans who may not have known their history. And for those long time fans, it really has been a long windy journey, hasn’t it? :)

  11. I was browsing YouTube this evening and ran across this video of the Chicks rehearsing and discussing this song. Great behind the scenes stuff. I love Natalie’s last quote.

  12. I LOVE THE DIXIE CHICKS. They’re so freaking talented. They’re one of the few bands from all genres that i really really love.

    I love that they criticized bush. people’s reactions to their incident was very shocking. i will always love them and i’m waiting for more really good music.

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