Dixie Chicks





























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Dixie Chicks
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"It's easier to write songs that are about other people," says Natalie Maines. "It's much harder to put yourself out there, but the songs are so much better and mean so much more when you can let yourself be vulnerable, and be honest with your emotions and your beliefs." With TAKING THE LONG WAY, one of the most anticipated albums in recent years, the Dixie Chicks are putting themselves out there like never before. For the first time, every one of the disc's fourteen songs are co-written by the Chicks themselves, exploring themes both deeply private and resoundingly political. Collaborating with legendary producer Rick Rubin (who has worked with everyone from Johnny Cash to the Red Hot Chili Peppers, from Run DMC to Neil Diamond), the biggest-selling female band in history has truly pushed themselves to new heights both as writers and as performers. "Everything felt more personal this time," says Maines. "I go back to songs we've done in the past and there's just more maturity, depth, intelligence on these. They just feel more grown-up." Inspired by such classic rock artists as the Eagles, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and the Mamas and the Papas, TAKING THE LONG WAY adds a sweeping, Southern California vibe to the Chicks' down-home intimacy. That ambition is matched with lyrics addressing everything from small-town narrow-mindedness ("Lubbock or Leave It") to the psychology of celebrity ("Everybody Knows"). "This album was about finding a balance in the different aspects of our lives," says Emily Robison, "but there's something thematic there, too - it's really about being bold." Of course, that's a subject that the Dixie Chicks know a few things about. Not just "big for a country band" or "big for a big female band," the Dixie Chicks are a multi-platinum selling act in North America, Europe and Australia. They are one of a mere handful of acts with multiple albums achieving "diamond" status (meaning sales over 10 million copies) - both WIDE OPEN SPACES (1998) and FLY (1999) hit that stratospheric landmark - and have won seven Grammy awards. Their on-stage reputation has helped them sell over $100 million worth of concert tickets, and outspoken songs like "Goodbye, Earl" made it clear that this power trio played by nobody's rules. And that was all before Natalie Maines's comments about a fellow Texan, President George W. Bush, during a London appearance in March, 2003 really put the Dixie Chicks in the headlines. The resultant uproar - complete with boycotts and death threats - is the focus of TAKING THE LONG WAY's defiant first single, "Not Ready to Make Nice." "The stakes were definitely higher on that song," says Robison. "We knew it was special because it was so autobiographical, and we had to get it right. And once we had that song done, it freed us up to do the rest of the album without that burden." Martie Maguire says that all three Chicks believe they've grown as a result of the incident. "I learned I was ready to put my career on the line for something I believed in," she says. "Emily and I could have pressured Natalie to apologize, and I was so proud that I had that inner strength - that nothing is as important as standing up for what you believe in." Following the controversy, the group spent the rest of 2003 on their "Top of the World" tour (documented on a double-CD and a DVD of the same name), and amassed the biggest one-year gross for a country music act in history - a whopping $62 million. The following year, they joined the historic "Vote for Change" tour in anticipation of the 2004 Presidential election. When it came time to return to the recording studio, the Chicks knew that they wanted a new direction. Their last studio album, 2002's HOME, was itself a departure - a glorious celebration of their acoustic roots - so there was no obvious next move. They discovered that they shared a fondness for Rick Rubin's work, only to find out that he was a Dixie Chicks fan ever since seeing the trio "completely blow everyone off the stage" at a Sony Music function early in their career. When sessions began in Los Angeles in May, 2005, Maguire remembers Rubin saying, "I think this should sound like a great rock act making a country album, not a country act making a rock album." Beyond that, things were left open to see where the creative process would lead. "It was a very different style of working," says Maines. "You have to learn to relax and be OK with experimenting. We just knew we wanted to do something different, and that's scary." "The journey is to see where the songs take us," says Rubin. "I felt like they had a lot to talk about, and it would be a good time for them to talk. It was really like the start of their career. Up until now, people loved them in a very surface way. This was the first time that people took them seriously - and in one stroke they went from loved artists to serious artists." Rubin assembled a band including Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith, session hero Larry Knechtel, and Heartbreakers Benmont Tench and Mike Campbell, and matched the Chicks with co-writers including Dan Wilson (who wound up collaborating on six of TAKING THE LONG WAY's songs), Pete Yorn, and Gary Louris of the Jayhawks. Rubin says that he watched the band's songwriting skills skyrocket in front of his eyes. "Over a period of time, by honing their craft and working with good mentors, they got to be really, really good songwriters," he says. The results cover an impressive range of territory. "Silent House" examines the emotions that come from watching an older relative struggle with Alzheimer's. "It's So Hard When It Doesn't Come Easy" addresses infertility, an issue that both Robison and Maguire have faced. ("I think we feel a responsibility to break down some barriers," says Maguire. "It's much more of a common problem than people realize.") The Chicks debuted the gospel-inflected "I Hope," co-written with Keb’ Mo’, during last year's telethon benefiting the victims of Hurricane Katrina; the album version features a blistering guitar solo by John Mayer. Of course, political brouhahas weren't the only things happening in the Dixie Chicks world during the last few years. The number of children in their posse has grown from two to seven since the release of HOME, and their domestic life informs such songs as "Baby Hold On" and the delicate "Lullaby," which they call "a gift to our kids." Robison laughs that "our entourage just consists of nannies," while noting that their tour plans this time will be "stretched out more - we'll tour longer, with more time off." As for the tour - set to kick off in the summer and run for more than a year - Maines says that it will be "more of an old-style rock show, not so much about theatrics and props but just about the music." She also notes that "to rock out, we used to have to pull out a cover tune, so it's nice to have your own songs to fill that part of the set." Superstars, renegades, innovators, heroes, villains, and moms - over almost a decade, the Dixie Chicks have grown from a band into a phenomenon. Now more than ever, the eyes of the world are on them, and with TAKING THE LONG WAY, they come out swinging, surpassing the pressures and expectations history has placed upon them. "This album was total therapy," says Natalie Maines. "I'm way more at peace now. Writing these songs and saying everything we had to say makes it possible to move on."
Date Venue City State Note
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09/22/2010 - THE ESSENTIAL DIXIE CHICKS Rounds Up Country Chart Hits and Favorites - Read More
03/19/2010 - Dixie Chicks sisters debut side project at South by Southwest - Read More
02/21/2007 - Shut up and Sing  - Read More
02/12/2007 - Dixie Chicks Claim Five Grammys - Read More
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Average Rating : 3.8              Total Reviews: 146


Dixie Chicks  04/21/2009            
west texas waltz
Proud to be from the same state as the Dixie Chicks!
Dixie Chicks  06/13/2008            
james michael gill
dear chick you are one of the graetes country singer and you should be back on the radio again [email protected]
Dixie Chicks  01/26/2008            
dcxfan
I love the Chicks and I love their music. I gave up on country radio a few years back and I'm not missing a thing. I've got the Chicks in my CD changer at all times. They write and choose songs that relate to my life and inspire me, and Martie and Emily's playing is amazing - something you have to see live. For those who are still harping on them, get over it. I've met so many people that are new fans and admire their playing and the fact that they are always true to themselves and real and honest. Finally, to beano and all the other fans out there, if you want to hear them on the radio again, call and request them. It's in OUR hands (not Natalie's)! I can't wait to see what the Chicks do next...
Dixie Chicks  12/24/2007            
Beano
It seems there's 2 distinct groups posting their opinions here...I think both are missing the point. On one hand, you've got the "bashers"...the people who came out of the woodwork after Natalie made her political statement at the concert in...where was it...someplace in Europe, I believe? Probably not the appropriate venue for her comments, but personally, as a George Bush supporter, I didn't think it was that big of a deal. And, I suspect, MOST people, Bush supporters and detractors alike, took it with a grain of salt when they first heard the news as well. But then somebody came up with the idea of boycotting the Dixie Chicks, and the "sheep" got worked up into a frenzy. It escalated from demands that the Dixie Chicks be banned from local airwaves to actual death threats, which is absolutely ridiculous. You see, the "sheep" can't think for themselves. Someone, somewhere, told them that they should be outraged. So they became outraged. The problem is, no one dictated any limits to them, so the situation escalated as the herds tried to prove that they were more outraged than the neighboring herds...they just didn't know any better. This IS America, and we DO have the right to say whatever we want (short of compromising national security) about our national leaders, even when abroad, without threat of prosecution from the government. Which brings us to the second group of people posting their opinions about the Dixie Chicks...I'll refer to them as the "blind followers". Unlike the "bashers", these sheep are following a different leader; namely, Natalie Maines. They're following her down a different path but, frankly, they're just as lost as the other group of sheep. These are the people who insist Natalie said nothing wrong, constantly referring to our national right to free speech. These people will insist that the Dixie Chicks are getting a raw deal, and that the "bashers" are way out of line in their decision to boycott the Chicks. Yes, she does have the right to say whatever she wants about our national leaders (or anybody else) without worrying about prosecution. But that's where the freedom of speech ends...if you offend a group of people (particularly a LARGE group of people), there will certainly be a price to pay. And while I wasn't particularly offended by her comments, there are obviously a lot of people who WERE, and they have every right to boycott them and encourage others to do the same. Let's pretend for a moment that she hadn't said anything about George Bush, but instead said "We're embarrassed to be from the same state as a bunch of...(insert preferred racial slur here)". Would you be singing the same tune about "freedom of speech" then? She certainly would have had every right to say that, but there would have been a price to pay, just as as she and the others are paying the price for the comments she DID make. It's the same animal, it just touches a different nerve with different people. Now me, I don't get all emotional over it; I look at it for what it is. I wasn't offended by her comments, but it became such a national story, I watched with interest when the Dixie Chicks were interviewed about the whole mess by...Barbara Walters, was it? The thing that struck me was that she made no apology. Not that she owed George Bush an apology, she has her opinions and she's entitled to them. She could have saved face by apologizing to the people she offended by simply stating that she chose the wrong venue to espouse her political views without backing down about her opinion of George Bush. But she didn't. In fact, she started the whole "freedom of speech" defense in that interview, which, I've got to admit, offended ME. No, she did absolutely nothing to warrant death threats, but it's a bit ironic that she chose to cite her "rights as an American" while saying at the same time that the boycotters were out of line for exercising their own rights. But all that aside, the people she truly owes an apology to are the two remaining original Dixie Chicks. She's wrecked the careers they both worked so hard to build, and while they both publicly support her, you've got to believe they wish she could just learn to keep her mouth shut. I like the Dixie Chicks, I think Natalie has a great voice and I wish this ridiculous boycott would end so I could hear them on the radio again. But there's only one person that can make that happen, and that's Natalie Maines. And she's either too stubborn, too selfish, or too stupid to make it happen. Thanks for nothing Natalie, and while they would never say it publicly, I'm pretty sure I speak for the rest of the band as well. Grow up.
Dixie Chicks  10/19/2007            
jimbo
great music! shame that a "(in my view) a harmless plolitical comment" becomes a highlight with the press. More power to you!!! I am quite sure you had no political agenda, I also hope that you thrive ...not only for your music, but, also for/our values in a world that needs guidance and direction from those with influence!
Dixie Chicks  10/10/2007            
bigfan
They make phenomenal music! I'm very proud to be a fan. I can't choose a favorite album...it depends on my mood. I hope they keep playing forever.
Dixie Chicks  07/31/2007            
Alr
Good,no great music!Plus a free mind!
Dixie Chicks  07/31/2007            
123
I would give them 0 stars, but i have to give'em 1,
Dixie Chicks  07/31/2007            
yep
IT MAKES ME SICK JUST TO LOOK AT THEM!
Dixie Chicks  07/31/2007            
B
HOW COULD ANYONE LIKE THEM?
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