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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


Track List: The Essential Dixie Chicks

Disc 1

1. Not Ready To Make Nice

2. The Long Way Around

3. Easy Silence

4. Lubbock Or Leave It

5. Bitter End

6. Silent House

7. Lullaby

8. Everybody Knows

9. Long Time Gone

10. Travelin' Soldier

11. Landslide

12. Lil' Jack Slade

13. Truth No. 2

14. White Trash Wedding

15. Top Of The World

Disc 2

1. Ready To Run

2. Cowboy Take Me Away

3. Goodbye Earl

4. Some Days You Gotta Dance

5. Heartbreak Town

6. Sin Wagon

7. Without You

8. Let Him Fly

9. Wide Open Spaces

10. There's Your Trouble

11. You Were Mine

12. I Can Love You Better

13. Tonight The Heartache's On Me

14. Give It Up Or Let Me Go

15. I Believe In Love


Track List: Taking The Long Way

1. The Long Way Around

2. Easy Silence

3. Not Ready To Make Nice

4. Everybody Knows

5. Bitter End

6. Lullaby

7. Lubbock Or Leave It

8. Silent House

9. Favorite Year

10. Voice Inside My Head

11. I Like It

12. Baby Hold On

13. So Hard

14. I Hope


Track List: Top Of The World - Live

Disc 1

1. Goodbye Earl (Live)

2. Some Days You Gotta Dance (Live)

3. There's Your Trouble (Live)

4. Long Time Gone (Live)

5. Tortured, Tangled Hearts (Live)

6. Travelin' Soldier (Live)

7. Am I The Only One (Who's Ever Felt This Way) (Live)

8. Hello Mr. Heartache (Live)

9. Cold Day In July (Live)

10. White Trash Wedding (Live)

11. Lil' Jack Slade (Live)

Disc 2

1. A Home (Live)

2. Truth No. 2 (Live)

3. If I Fall You're Going Down With Me (Live)

4. Mississippi (Live)

5. Cowboy Take Me Away (Live)

6. Godspeed (Sweet Dreams) (Live)

7. Landslide (Live)

8. Ready To Run (Live)

9. Wide Open Spaces (Live)

10. Top Of The World (Live)

11. Sin Wagon (Live)


Track List: Home

1. Long Time Gone

2. Landslide

3. Travelin' Soldier

4. Truth No.2

5. White Trash Wedding

6. A Home

7. More Love

8. I Believe In Love

9. Tortured, Tangled Hearts

10. Lil' Jack Slade

11. Godspeed (Sweet Dreams)

12. Top Of The World


Track List: Fly

1. Ready To Run

2. If I Fall You're Going Down With Me

3. Cowboy Take Me Away

4. Cold Day In July

5. Goodbye Earl

6. Hello Mr. Heartache

7. Don't Waste Your Heart

8. Sin Wagon

9. Without You

10. Some Days You Gotta Dance

11. Hole In My Head

12. Heartbreak Town

14. Let Him Fly


Track List: Wide Open Spaces

1. I Can Love You Better

2. Wide Open Spaces

3. Loving Arms

4. There's Your Trouble

5. You Were Mine

6. Never Say Die

7. Tonight The Heartache's On Me

8. Let 'Er Rip

9. Once You've Loved Somebody

10. I'll Take Care Of You

11. Am I The Only One (Who's Ever Felt This Way)

12. Give It Up Or Let Me Go


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Love this song Travelin' Soldier they have such beautiful voices!!!!!! Love them always!!!!! XOXOXOXOXOXO .
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garyhart4rea l
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What great voices these three beautiful woman have, they harmonize so good! Love you always! XOXOXOXO.
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I love not ready to make nice
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Love their music, because great music is TIMELESS. Love you always. XOXOXO.
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I love these three very beautiful and talented ladies and LOVE rules over hate every time. XOXOXO.
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I love y'all can you come to my house
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Love listening to your music!!
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I love y'all I love with all my heart
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My favorite songs
Cowboy take me away
Ready to run
Not ready to make nice
Goodbye Earl
Wide open spaces
Take the long way round heartbreak town
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I love the music these three vary beautiful ladies sing, never stop speaking your mind. Love you always! XOXOXO.
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I went to your concert yesterday it was awesome
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Love you were mine
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Your music makes my heart leap out of my chest and pull my a** out of the chair to the place I am meant to be. NC girl raised on bluegrass and outdoor love.
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You three very beautiful and talented ladies sound great together Love you always!!!!
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Dixie chicks u are the 3erd best country singers u are some three beautiful three country singers but..... Miranda Lambert is my 1st Carrie Underwood then u guys
P.s do u know Miranda Lambert and Carrie underwood:-) ? But u or sooooo telented
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I love you three very talented and beautiful ladies keep making great music!!!
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You are cull
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great song makes me wanna cry tho like the group too
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Hey Dixie Chicks! Want another hit? Do a song about Der Trumpster... just like the old days.
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I love the music that these very beautiful and talented ladies make and never stop speaking your mind Thank You sooo much!!! Love you always!!!!!! !
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I have always liked the Chicks! They got a bum rap and I am so glad that they're recording and touring again.
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Ever since I heard their music in high school I've been hooked. I love the Dixie Chicks. They are amazing.
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Dixie Chicks are the most talented group ever
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I love all your music no one will ever sing like you guys ������
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Can't wait to go to your concert I'm so excited
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I'm going to hear and see the Dixie Chicks tonight in San Diego!! The Chicks are marvelously talented and I love their music and outspokennes s ! We are a country of freedom of speech until you say something someone doesn't like ie, Bush Administrati o n ! The Chicks were right and that is what was objected to! I'm glad they are back in force and I hope they keep speaking their minds!! Love the Chicks!
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Wonderful beautiful talented women
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These are three very beautiful ladies and never stop speaking your mind I love your music!!!!!
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I love you ladies and your great music!!
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I love y'all. I grew up listening to y'all. Thank you for helping me out of tough situations.
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I LOVE YOU GIRLS! You songs are very inspirationa l both the lyrics and music. I have enjoyed your music since the it came out and frequently play this station on pandora. Thank you for all you do.
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peterjeffrie s
Jut saw them live In Hershey PA. They ROCK!!!! Great concert!!
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You guys are really good singers
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I'm living somewhere where I'm not allowed to voice my opinion or thought r ideas and it's here in the USA. The Dixie Chick s I applaud you for what you did.
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I love this group. I agree with them.Im appalled at how they where treated.What happened to speaking your mind and opinion just cause it was Bush he should be used to.He ought to expect it good are bad.I will always listen to them.
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whiteblankie 4 2
Love THEM!!!!!!!! ! !
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There are a couple of people I wished had the same fate as the song Good By Earl
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I totally agreed with them, then and now I am glad they making music again and I hope they never stop speaking their minds about things!
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Dixie Chick's were the only country group to call out idiot Bush years ago for completely destabilizin g the Middle East and giving us ISIS. What did they get in return? Completely ostracized from the redneck lemmings of country music. Who are the fools now?
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Immediate thumbs down...Chris Ledoux would be disappointed to hear them on his station!
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Natalie was right years ago about Bush! I love these ladies and EVERYTHING they stand for. I am so HAPPY they are tourinhg again! I seen them in Cleveland and have front row tickets for Toledo Ohio show on September!
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The conservative double standard. Backlash for the Dixie Chicks (for saying NOWHERE NEAR the things said about the current President on a daily basis) - but Trump gets the nomination. Hmm...
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Great music never goes out of style saying that their music is always in style!!!!!!!
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Angel gal I think your baby boy is very important to you
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andersonfont a c e
Love this song it remind of my husband
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Calgon take me away
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Rebecca, that goes for while you are on active duty or active reserve. If he has retired or otherwise separated from the military, he has the right to say what he wants. If this were said about Obama, you probably wouldn't even pipe up. Move to Europe? Why, because he exercises his right to free speech, which he, and supposedly you, served to protect?
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