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 : 0              Total Reviews: 146

Dixie Chicks  02/22/2005            
I love the dixie chicks! they are so awesome and inspiring! everyone should listen to them.
Dixie Chicks  02/22/2005            
Despite what other think, I believe the Dixie Chicks are amazing artist! All of their albums are phenomenal. They inspired me to start playing the banjo (i've been playing for five months now) not too many teenage girls play the banjo. I look up to them not only because they're great musicians, but because they are women. I just wish they would announce a tour sometime soon, but unfortunately, i don't think that's gonna happen. I strongly encourage others to listen to these awesome women.
Dixie Chicks  01/14/2005            
A Real Texan
The Dixie Chicks are a truly awesome band! I was fortunate to see their live show in San Antonio this past year. My family loves their music. It's too bad that several others in these reviews have chosen to speak so hatefully about the Chicks because of something Natalie said. Get over it! If you want to hate people because they disagree with you, leave our country. And if you really want to get your panties in a wad, listen to the latest album from another great Texan, Steve Earle. He ain't afraid to speak his mind either.
Dixie Chicks  12/24/2004            
There is a saying out in the idustry of "seperating the music from the person". Ok, so the comments that they have made were in poor taste but they did make good music. This site is to review the music not political opinions. There are allot of musicians out their that have great music, but they suck as a person.
Dixie Chicks  12/08/2004            
Good job with the reviews. Never cut them any slack, ever! Silly little opinionated know it all, and too spoiled to care that she made a huge mistake. The only thing they have going for them at this point is Natalies Super Daddy, Lloyd Maines. They are the biggest waste of talent in music history.
Dixie Chicks  12/07/2004            
I hope that everyone else feels the way I do about the Dixie Chichs. There comments were disguisting and they deserved all of the hell that they got. To make that statement in a foreign country is just low. But none of that matters now because Bush won anyway. See, great job Natalie, you destroyed your band's reputation and it didn't even help out your liberal agenda. Quick thinking. I will never buy their cd and I hope other Texans and patriotic Americans feel the same.
Dixie Chicks  11/16/2004            
An American
I think they are all very talented. Too bad they don't know how to just be talented and keep their opinions to themselves. It was a "kiss ass move" to try to get some French jackoffs to cheer for them. Adios from "Texas". Land of the free and home of George Bush...Let freedom ring in your ears forever.
Dixie Chicks  11/16/2004            
George W. Bush
Dick Chicks, The Commander In Chief was re-elected by popular vote as well as electorial college. Does that tell you something. Most Americans are proud, especially Texans. I'm very happy that things did not go your way. Hope your record sales stay WAY DOWN as i'm sure you'll be bashing for the next four years. All you did was screw with over half your fans. Your political agenda (if it can be called that)was immediately shattered as well as your reputation. You could have expressed your opinions without being so insulting and things would have continued going your way. And to think I used to feel you were the best. America Rocks!
Dixie Chicks  10/22/2004            
As a former soldier myself, I couldn't agree more. I was a big fan since Wide Open Spaces, and very proud that they were from the same state that I was from, however, people who like country music need to know that the people that sing songs about conviction, and core beliefs, are not merely sung by people who are just pretending. The Chicks are not sorry for what Maines said, and I hope they get just what they deserve. The real shame is that they sacrificed what they loved and were quite talented at doing all to become mindless political activists. A real shame..
Dixie Chicks  09/25/2004            
A travelin soldier
I used to listen to this "band" every since they were small time back in texas, I have lost all respect, for what they did, and you know exactly what i am referring to. and to that reveiw earier, about jumpin on the bandwagon... put yourself in my shoes, I have been deployed eversince the attacks to this great country. Afghanistan, the first time, Afghanistan the Second time and now Iraq. They wanna play these songs about the military and tell everyone in their shows how proud they are. Then go away from their home, and put down our commander in cheif, the same man who sent his good ole boys from the states to go whoop the asses of the sorry indivuals who killed your mother, father, sister and brother. if you cant handle that, well I am sorry maybe you should move to a little less "violence orientated" country. so for me and my buddies... down with the chicks, let them fly out the window, as thier cd's did out my truck window at 70 MPH.
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