In case you haven’t heard, the Dixie Chicks are back and ready for a fight, having reportedly in essence told the country music establishment to kiss off. Their new CD, “Taking the Long Way”, opens with “Not Ready to Make Nice”, in which Maines announces “I’m not ready to back down/ I’m still mad as hell.” The 14 songs on the album were composed by the Chicks in collaboration with a number of renowned rock and pop composers.
You will remember that, during a 2003 London concert the ever frank Maines informed the crowd “”Just so you know, we’re ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas” and indicated that she thought Bush’s policies were alienating the rest of the world. Maines comment enlivened the Rovian right wing smear machine, which featured a Clear Channel Communications orchestrated boycott of the Chicks. Clear Channel, headquartered in Texas, is the corporate owner of 1200 USA radio stations and is headed by Bush cronies Lowry Mays and Tom Hicks. Clear Channel owned station personnel orchestrated, Fahrenheit 451 type Dixie Chicks CD burnings. As far as I’m concerned the despicable acts of Clear Channel Communications in punishing the Chicks for exercising their First Amendment right is forever unforgivable and think folks should forever punish Clear Channel by not listening to its stations.
Martie Maguire commented that the dust up over Maines’ comment has caused the chicks to reevaluate their approach to their art which led to their decision to eschew commercialism in favor of pursuing their artistic tendencies and playing to a loyal fan base. “I’d rather have a small following of really cool people who get it, who will grow with us as we grow and are fans for life, than people that have us in their five-disc changer with Reba McEntire and Toby Keith,” Maguire said. “We don’t want those kinds of fans. They limit what you can do.”
While I’m on the subject of the Chicks, if you haven’t watched the “An Evening With The Dixie Chicks” DVD, do yourself a favor and check it out. The 2002 concert, in the amazingly stunning Kodak Theater, featured the Chicks playing through the songs on their then soon to be released CD “Home”, followed by an encore of older material that had the crowd, composed primarily of younger women, up on their feet singing along with every word. I find it very emotional, particularly their presentation of “Goodbye Earl”, which recounts the dispatching of an abusive husband by two female friends.
I think the Dixie Chicks are exceptionally talented musicians who always have top notch back up musicians and I find their in-your-face approach very refreshing in an entertainment world dominated by market driven entertainers. Maines provides powerful, spot-on lead vocals and sisters Emily Robinson and Martie MaGuire contribute incredibly sweet harmonies, as well as their virtuosity on a variety of instruments.
I hope both of my readers will run right out and buy every Dixie Chick product they can. Their new CD was released earlier this week in the USA but will not be available internationally until some time in June.