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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, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

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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 . . .
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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!

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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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1. Kiss your hand 2. Say your crushes name 3. Close your hand 4. Say a school day 5. Open your hand and post this on 15 different songs and your crush will ask you out.
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��
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I hope! they come to Colorado!!! One of THE BEST EVER!!! CONCERTS I have ever gone to! I loved them then AND now!
They MOST CERTAINLY should be on EVERY station!
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jstnvigil
They have no place on this station
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erndtjd
Liberal ideology has no place in country music.
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bflatt6
I support everything about their comments, I am from Texas and feel the same. Tom Delay, Bush, Wolfowitz,an d Chaney destroyed the real america. One of striving for peace at all cost. Destroyed our moral standing in the world and handed our country to the corporate war machine. We need more leaders to stand up for the real Americans. Americans who are tolerant of Christian, Muslim, atheist, We founded this country on freedom, not on Corporate greed. Freedom to live as we wish.
Report as inappropriate
The president and our government wanted war which would cause many American troops to die. Iraq had done nothing to America, just dealing with internal problems. The Chicks we're embarrassed that Bush was from Texas. They just wanted peace and you see them as the problem. No one wants their brother to die for nothing. No reason for the war with Iraq. The t
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rldakin2006
Part of the problem was that they made their comments outside of the US.
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They can move to Canada for all I care - they are DONE!
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Your music is so true and buetiful!!!! ! ! ! !
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Love 'em
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browndeannak
The Dixie Chicks are still together, they did not break up. They are just on hiatus and don't play shows in the U.S. They get together at least once a year for some shows in Canada. Although Natalie has said on Twitter that they are doing a U.S tour in the summer of 2016.
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Grew up listening to them love it
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Yes, would love to see the girls together agin. ' I hope ' very pretty song.
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amynelms
One of my Daughters favorite concerts. They were at the Carousel Festival in NC. #greatmemori e s
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They still tour over in other countries. Hoping for a comeback soon! I know I will be supporting them!
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@~:: Tejas kid :: ~ About your comment earlier about hoping for a new cd soon. They broke up a couple years ago, unless I'm mistaken. Wish they hadn't but I believe they did. They should do a reunion.
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Well I've been afraid of changing cause I've built my life around you♡
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BRANDIE HUFFMAN
THIS IS UR BABY SISTER
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I'm voting for hillary clinton
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None of the reasons for the war with Iraq were true nor did the make sense. The Chicks love America just as we do. We the people disagree with the government on occasion, it's our duty to speak out. The governments choices killed Americans. Was it worth our lives. No weapons of mass destruction. What? No reason to kill my brother.
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Singers ought to do what they do best... sing.
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I like.Rascal flatts what hurts the most
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I love the Dixie chicks
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Dixie chicks have good songs
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She said that she was ashamed that Bush was from Texas! Everything about the reason to go to war with Iraq was a lie! No weapons of mass destruction. Americans died in this war for no reason!!! You dare hate the Chicks for their love of peace! You have to ask yourself ' am I an idiot?
Report as inappropriate
Don't pay them for their politics. Sorry.
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Hang in there Girls We`re Still Listen`en
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So talented problem with America everyone judges I thought they were just a band! Get over it they sing for a living glad it's ok to have a voice makes sense with freedom of speech!! Is that still around?
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Such a timeless classic♡
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a lot of the songs we hear on this site bring back a lot of great memories that I thought were lost and forgotten... . . . t h a n k you
Report as inappropriate
I love their songs and they always have rights to sing any song they want and say anything they can say whatever if you agree with me do you agree with me yes or no
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dvdsauerwein
I'd love to hear a new album from the Dixie Chicks.
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Wish they would reconsider, would love to hear more. Really the best!!
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loved their music, too bad Maines just couldn't let it go.
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Report as inappropriate
Funny how country artists can't disagree with or criticize the president. They maybe had the insight a few years earlier than the rest of us BUT they got shutdown for it. Too bad, very talented artists.
Report as inappropriate
Say ariana granda five times and then post on two other songs and see how your voice sounds
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If you are struggling or need someone to talk to, let me know. I am willing to try and help out best I can.
Report as inappropriate
Kiss ur left hand
Say ur crushes name
Close ur hand
Say ur name
Pick a day of the week
Post this on 15 other songs and ur crush will ask u out that day
Report as inappropriate
Love your music and I love the most is travelin' soldier
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stevenalbano 1 6
Best Band Ever!!!!
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