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Dixie Chicks

Formed in 1989 as a Western-themed bluegrass band, the Dixie Chicks eventually became one of the most popular acts in contemporary country music, as well as the highest-selling female group in America. Beginning with 1998's Wide Open Spaces, they struck a balance between the commercial, radio-ready aesthetic of country-pop and the rootsy sound of neo-traditionalist country, a combination that helped distinguish the trio from such concurrent stars as Shania Twain. The Dixie Chicks further distanced themselves from country's conservative boundaries as their career progressed, although their outspoken beliefs -- specifically Natalie Maines' open criticism of the war in Iraq, which ignited a backlash in 2003 -- were sometimes voiced to the detriment of the band's sales. Nevertheless, the Dixie Chicks remained a compelling band in concert and on record, boasting three-part harmonies and an instrumental prowess that was virtually unparalleled among similar groups.

Sisters Martie and Emily Erwin were raised in Addison, Texas, a suburban town on the northern edge of Dallas. Both girls showed a talent for stringed instruments at an early age, with Martie mastering the fiddle and Emily learning the five-string banjo. Following their high-school graduation, the Erwins joined bassist Laura Lynch and guitarist Robin Lynn Macy to form the Dixie Chicks, whose name was modeled after the Little Feat song "Dixie Chicken." The group originally promoted a classic cowgirl image, wearing rhinestone-studded regalia and honing a mix of traditional country, folk, and bluegrass; the bandmembers even paid homage to Roy Rogers' cowgirl co-star/wife on their independent debut, 1990's Thank Heavens for Dale Evans. As the decade progressed, however, the group's image and sound became more contemporary, often bridging the gap between country and pop music.

The move toward a more contemporary sound began with 1992's Little Ol' Cowgirl, a transitional record whose new direction (aided in part by the contributions of several sidemen, including steel guitar legend Lloyd Maines) resulted in Macy's departure. With Lynch now handling lead vocals, the remaining trio resurfaced in 1993 with Shouldn't a Told You That. They signed with Sony's newly revived Monument imprint in 1995, but Lynch left the group shortly thereafter -- according to a December 10, 1998, feature in The Dallas Observer, both she and Macy were victims of the Erwins' desire to foster a more youthful image. Soon named as Lynch's replacement was 21-year-old lead vocalist Natalie Maines, Lloyd Maines' able-voiced daughter.

The lineup switch brought with it a new contemporary wardrobe and an equally modernized country sound; still, few predicted the massive success of the Dixie Chicks' 1998 major-label debut, Wide Open Spaces. After the leadoff single "I Can Love You Better" became the group's first Top Ten country hit, both "There's Your Trouble" and the winsome title track rose to the top of the Hot Country Songs chart. Wide Open Spaces went quadruple platinum within its first year and eventually became the best-selling group album in country music history, earning a slew of Grammy and CMA awards along the way. Fly followed in 1999, immediately returning the Dixie Chicks to the upper reaches of the country charts with the lead single "Ready to Run." Another smash hit was "Goodbye Earl," which spun the tale of an abusive husband who died at the hands of his vengeful wife. Although the lyrics owed a good deal to black comedy, "Goodbye Earl" (as well as another song, "Sin Wagon," whose lyrics touched upon Maines' desire to "do a little mattress dancing") proved that the Dixie Chicks didn't always adhere to the conservative ideals of their country fan base. This outspoken attitude initially contributed to their success, but Maines' future comments about President George W. Bush would plunge the band into controversy in later years.

The Dixie Chicks were now genuine superstars, and they joined the likes of Shakira, Mary J. Blige, Cher, and Celine Dion for the filming of VH1's Divas Show in 2002. Three months later, they were back in the game with the release of their sixth album, which eschewed the polished sound of the girls' recent work for a nostalgic, bluegrass-based style. Home marked the girls' first release on their own Sony imprint, Open Wide Records; it also gave them their first two Top Ten hits on the pop charts with "Long Time Gone" and "Landslide" (a stirring cover of the Fleetwood Mac original). Top of the World Tour: Live and its accompanying DVD arrived in 2003, capturing the band's strength as a live act.

However, the Top of the World Tour also marked a turning point for the band. On opening night in London, Natalie Maines spoke out against the Iraq War, stating that the girls were ashamed to share their home state with President Bush. Many American fans lashed out in response, and the Dixie Chicks watched as country radio boycotted their latest album. Released in 2006, Taking the Long Way dealt with that backlash (which included death threats, group protests, and a chilly reception at the 2003 ACM Awards) with songs like "Not Ready to Make Nice," which won three Grammy Awards and helped reestablish the group as a commercial force. The album itself netted an additional two Grammys, and "Not Ready to Make Nice" earned the Dixie Chicks their highest peak to date on the pop charts. Taking the Long Way only sold two million copies in America, though -- a commercial letdown compared to the band's three previous albums -- and the Dixie Chicks temporarily disappeared after the 2007 Grammy Awards.

For several years, things were quiet in the Dixie Chicks' camp. Sisters Emily Robison and Martie Maguire eventually formed a new band, the Court Yard Hounds, and began making plans for an album release and accompanying tour. In March 2010, however, the Dixie Chicks announced a string of summer concerts alongside the Eagles and Keith Urban, prompting the Court Yard Hounds to cancel their own tour. In September 2006, at the end of the frenzied media tour for the release of the Taking the Long Way album, the Dixie Chicks had recorded an intimate live set at the Los Angeles Theater as part of VH1’s Storytellers series, and the performance was finally released on DVD and Blu-ray in 2011, further illustrating the trio’s strength as a live act. ~ Andrew Leahey & Steve Leggett
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

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updikeiol514
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mfernandez19 8 8
Girl go sit down! I love them and don't we have Freedom of Speech! So they can say what they please!
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F**k the dixi c**ts too liberal for me!!!
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cruiseioe189
Guys, if you have some free time check out ATOCE.COM this is an easy way to make around $400 per week and it's pretty easy to get started. Hope this helps (Share this method if it works for you). ❤️❤️❤️❤️
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I love this song
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Ask a soldier if what they said was helpfull and at the correct venue, no it was not from my very limited exposer, that said free speech is precious
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F**k the Dixie chicks they suck big time hope there next album is a HUGE flop
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castanedab16 1 5
I love country music
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They need to come to North Carolina. Sing Traveling Soldier. That song hits me in the feels. <3
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I love this song.
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monte15334
My relationship with the Chicks is music...not politics. I can share this country with people who have different political opinions than me. After all this is America and it is awesome to have the freedom of speech isn't it!!!!. Let em sing.
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I wish the chicks would tour in N.C. Love their music.
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I love this song
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The Dixie Chicks got me introduced to country music and made me see that it could be fun. :)
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ndbruce3591
Debbie loves this song
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I love your. Songs
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I really enjoy her voice, but I'm a Texan as well.
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I always loved their music and honesty
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now her voice is ok
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This reminds me I'm coming home the show sad I cry that show
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I like this song but with out her sorry her voice is a little ward I don't like her voice
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I love their music and I love their politics!
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I'm Australian Dixie chicks rule every song is so true. And what they said is true. I support America to. not many soldiers are recommended for fighting for peace. I recommend all of you soldiers who fight for us and die for us. R.I.P and God love you
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I, like so many others, are so tired of our young men and women dying for nothing. While our brave men/women are fighting the thugs back home are taking over and winning. The chicks are like alot of us, end this mess, bring our folks home. We don't have to be politically correct to suit anybody but our own people. We are tired of war....our presidents should do everything they can to keep our young people from being killed for nothing..... r o c k on girls.
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i love almost all of their songs #Dixie Chicks
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Love this song. Love the chicks......
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Dixie chicks
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When you were mine brings me to tears every time I hear it.. story of my life
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very
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Love the Chicks....be a u t i f u l voices, beautiful girls...
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Your right I can write a song or I can stand up and say ' I do not like the president of the USA' either way I am American to the core, and I love this country.
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U are the besteht senger
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sarhadsafi8
I hate them
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Country music is as American as the constitution and the right to free speech. If a musician wants to speak out against a war or a president, then country music artists and DJs need to remember how this country came about and as a result, they can write and sing songs uncensored
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The problem wasn't the politics but the media. The media told a one sided story portraying the Chicks as being unpatriotic. Natalie said they were ashamed that the president was from Texas. Never said anything unpatriotic. The Chicks are patriots they want peace ..... peace.
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Love it
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awesome trio , but leave the politics to the polititions !
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There is nothing wrong with being yourself, I'm sure you have a few people that wish you would keep your mouth shut now and then.
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aerozia
I wish natalie would have kept her big fat mouth shut, just sing, leave politics to the politians
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tabithamaber r y
In the song Travelin' Soldier the Dixie Chicks mentioned Vietnam.So just think about how the soldiers were treated and read this:

No trumpets
No parades
No cheering crowds
Just a little boy asking what the badges on my jacket mean.

Just think about that and how the soldiers felt about this.You can cry now.
Report as inappropriate
nunleyfam4
I hate when people are so rude to amazing singers when they can't do any better
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carla19562
I find it ironic that they were ashamed of George Bush and his actions and were called unpatriotic and unamerican and treasonous and. Yet, how many of those same people now say much much worse about Obama and consider themselves patriotic 'merica loving people because of it. I don't personally take either side of the two party system that polarizes and separates Americans causing them to mindlessly take sides on issues based on the party's beliefs. But.. hypocritical is hypocritical . . .
Report as inappropriate
I'm not sure what you think the Dixie Chicks did to deserve your evils. Natalie said they we're ashamed the president was from Texas and that the Chicks didn't want war ... more or less. The media messed with your mind son, come back to reality. The Chicks are patriots and your confused! ...... peace!

Report as inappropriate
hotrodpt
Some elephants never forget...... m u s t be why they're becoming extinct....j u s t couldn't adapt to changes. Be proud Dixie Chicks for standing up for what you and many of us believe.
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david.gray6
It was purely genius how they willfully and instantly they self-destruc t e d . Bad-mouth the President on foreign soil. Brilliant.

I believe you can catch their show this summer at the New York State Fair in Syracuse.

Buh-bye, has-beens.
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you don't wanna listen to them yet you're taking the time to comment. GET OVER IT. It happened over 10 years ago time to move on.
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hotrodpt
Great music - feel sorry for people like lindagking below who need to call these girls names because of their own bigotries... .
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lindagking2
Don't want to listen to hypocritical communist. They can move to Russia
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I miss the Dixie Chicks....pl e a s e come back with another album girls! You Rock, to heck w/ all the haters....
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