Biography All Music GuideWikipedia
All Music Guide:
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 VH1s Storytellers series, and the performance was finally released on DVD and Blu-ray in 2011, further illustrating the trios strength as a live act.
Dixie Chicks is an American country music band which has also crossed over into other genres, including alternative country. The band is composed of founding members (and sisters) Martie Erwin Maguire and Emily Erwin Robison, and lead singer Natalie Maines. The band formed in 1989 in Dallas, Texas, and was originally composed of four women performing bluegrass and country music, busking and touring the bluegrass festival circuits and small venues for six years without attracting a major label. After the departure of one bandmate, the replacement of their lead singer, and a slight change in their repertoire, Dixie Chicks soon achieved commercial success, beginning in 1998 with hit songs "There's Your Trouble" and "Wide Open Spaces".
On March 10, 2003, during a London concert, 9 days before the March 19, 2003 invasion of Iraq, lead vocalist Maines told the audience: "We don't want this war, this violence, and we're ashamed that the President of the United States (George W. Bush) is from Texas". The positive reaction to this statement from the British audience contrasted with the negative reaction including boycotts that ensued in the U.S., where the band was assaulted by talk-show conservatives, while their albums were discarded in public protest.
As of 2014, Dixie Chicks have won 13 Grammy Awards, including five in 2007 for Taking the Long Way—which received the Grammy Award for Album of the Year—and "Not Ready to Make Nice", a single from that album. By December 2014, with 30.5 million certified albums sold, and sales of 27.4 million albums in the U.S. alone, they had become the top selling all-female band and biggest selling country group in the U.S. during the Nielsen SoundScan era (1991–present)."Dixie Chicks ‘Shut Up and Sing’ in Toronto". MSNBC. Associated Press. 2006-09-13. Retrieved 2006-10-08. "Gold & Platinum – Top Selling Artists". RIAA. Retrieved 2010-07-19. "Natalie Maines Announces 'Mother' Solo Album". Billboard. Retrieved 2013-02-22. "chart moves dixie chicks natalie maines makes solo debut". Billboard. Retrieved 2013-05-17. "Two Dixie Chicks sign with Big Deal for publishing". Billboard. Retrieved 2014-12-06.
ContentsHistory1.1 1989–95: Original bluegrass group1.2 1997–2000: Commercial success with Wide Open Spaces and Fly1.3 2001–02: Record label dispute and Home1.4 2003–05: Political controversy1.5 2006–07: Taking the Long Way and Shut Up and Sing1.6 2008–present: hiatus and Court Yard Hounds
1989–95: Original bluegrass group
Dixie Chicks were founded by Laura Lynch on upright bass, guitarist Robin Lynn Macy, and the multi-instrumentalist sisters Martie and Emily Erwin in 1989. (The Erwin sisters have since married and changed their names. Martie had a short-lived marriage from 1995–1999 during which she was known as Martie Seidel, though in 2001, she remarried and the sisters are now known as Martie Maguire and Emily Robison. The four took their band name from the song "Dixie Chicken" by Lowell George of Little Feat, originally playing predominantly bluegrass and a mix of country standards. All four women played and sang, though Maguire and Robison provided most of the instrumental accompaniment for the band while Lynch and Macy shared lead vocals. Maguire primarily played fiddle, mandolin, and viola, while Robison's specialties included five-stringed banjo and dobro.
In 1990, thanks to the generosity of Penny Cook, daughter of then Senator John Tower, who wrote them a check for $10,000 so that they could record an album, Dixie Chicks recorded their first studio album, Thank Heavens for Dale Evans, named after the pioneering, multi-talented performer Dale Evans. They paid $5,000 for the 14-track album. The album included two instrumental tunes. In 1987, Maguire (still known then as Martie Erwin) had won second place, and in 1989, third place in the National fiddle championships held at the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield, Kansas. A Christmas single was released at the end of the year – a 45 RPM vinyl record titled Home on the Radar Range, with "Christmas Swing" on one side and the song on the flip side named "The Flip Side". The record titles were significant; during that period of time, the bandmates dressed up as "cowgirls", and publicity photos reflected this image. However, even with an appearance at the Grand Ole Opry, with few exceptions, such as Garrison Keillor's radio show A Prairie Home Companion, they didn't get much national airplay.
Dixie Chicks began building up a fan base, winning the prize for "best band" at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival and opening for established country music artists, including such big names in that genre as Garth Brooks, Reba McEntire, and George Strait.
In 1992, a second independent album, Little Ol' Cowgirl, moved towards a more contemporary country sound, as the band enlisted the help of more sidemen, and developed a richer sound with larger and more modern arrangements. Robin Lynn Macy was not pleased with their change in sound, however. She left in late 1992 to devote herself to a "purer" bluegrass sound, remaining active in the Dallas and Austin music scenes. It was during this period that professional steel guitarist Lloyd Maines (who had played on both albums) introduced them to his daughter, Natalie, an aspiring singer. Lloyd Maines thought his daughter a good match to replace the departed Macy, and had passed along Natalie's audition demo tape, which had won her a full scholarship to the Berklee College of Music, to both Maguire and Robison. Her distinctive voice was a match for Maguire's soprano and Robison's alto harmonies. As Maguire and Robison considered their options and the major record labels waffled over whether they should take a risk on an all-woman band, a few reviewers took note of their talents:
Some record label executives will be kicking themselves soon enough when the Dixie Chicks are queens of the honky-tonk circuit. If their show at the Birchmere last week was any indication, these Chicks have what it takes to make the big time, yet no major label has taken the plunge to sign them.—Eric Brace, The Washington Post
Lynch, thrust into the role of sole lead singer on their third independent album, Shouldn't a Told You That in 1993, was unable to attract support from a major record label, and the band struggled to expand their fan base beyond Texas and Nashville.
New manager Simon Renshaw approached music executive Scott Siman and he signed them to a developmental deal with Sony Music Entertainment's Nashville division. The deal was finalized with Sony over the summer of 1995. The Chicks then replaced Lynch with singer Maines. Accounts of the departure have varied. At the time, the sisters stated that Lynch had been considering leaving the band for over a year, weary of touring, and hoping to spend more time with her daughter at home. She offered to stay for the first cuts on the new album for Sony, but the sisters thought it would send the wrong message to the label; they all agreed she would leave before the new album. In a later interview, Lynch said, "It can't really be characterized as a resignation. There are three Dixie Chicks, and I'm only one." By her own account Lynch "cried every day for six months" after the change.
1997–2000: Commercial success with Wide Open Spaces and Fly
With the addition of Natalie Maines, the new lineup had a more contemporary sound, as well as a new look, leaving their cowgirl dresses with their past, giving the band a broader appeal. Renshaw sent staff producer Blake Chancey to Austin to work with the band.
After Maines joined the band, the instrumental lineup was essentially the same, though Maines was not an acoustic bassist. Instead, she played acoustic and electric guitar, and occasionally electric bass guitar or papoose in concert. She sang lead vocals, with Maguire and Robison singing backing vocals. Robison was now contributing to the band's sound, adding guitar, accordion, sitar, and papoose to her mastery of the five-string banjo and dobro, while Maguire began adding guitar, viola, and mandolin chops more frequently to her expert fiddle. The sisters welcomed the change; Maguire said, "It's very rootsy, but then Natalie comes in with a rock and blues influence. That gave Emily and [me] a chance to branch out, because we loved those kinds of music but felt limited by our instruments."
Within the next year, Sony came to Austin to see the revamped Dixie Chicks and committed to sign them to a long-term deal and they were selected as the first new artist on the newly revived Monument Records label. A single "I Can Love You Better" was released in October 1997, and reached the Top 10 on American country music charts, while the new lineup recorded the rest of their debut album. Wide Open Spaces was released on January 23, 1998. Over the space of a year, the next three singles from Wide Open Spaces reached first place on the Country charts: "There's Your Trouble", "You Were Mine", and the title track. This first album for the current band added a widespread audience to their original following, entering the top five on both country and pop charts with initial sales of 12 million copies in the country music arena alone, setting a record for the best-selling duo or group album in country music history. As of 2008, the 12 million copies sold worldwide of Wide Open Spaces made it a diamond certified album.
In 1998, Dixie Chicks sold more CDs than all other country music groups combined. Big Country music took note of the Chicks, awarding them the Horizon Award for new artists in 1998, given to those who have "demonstrated the most significant creative growth and development in overall chart and sales activity, live performance professionalism and critical media recognition". By 1999, the album won the new lineup their first Grammy Awards as well as acclaim from the Country Music Association, the Academy of Country Music, and other high profile awards.
On August 31, 1999, Dixie Chicks released another album, Fly, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 charts, selling over 10 million copies and making the Dixie Chicks the only country band and the only female band of any genre to hold the distinction of having two back-to-back RIAA certified diamond albums. Nine singles were released from Fly, including country No. 1s "Cowboy Take Me Away" and "Without You". Dixie Chicks albums have continued to place in the list of the 50 best-selling albums in American history over a half-decade after they were released. Fly again won Grammy awards and honors from the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music, and the Dixie Chicks received a number of honors from other sources for their accomplishments. The band headlined their first tour, the Fly Tour, with guest artists including Joe Ely and Ricky Skaggs appearing at each show, and also joined Sarah McLachlan, Sheryl Crow, and other female artists on the all-woman touring Lilith Fair.
The source of Dixie Chicks' commercial success during this time came from various factors: they wrote or co-wrote about half of the songs on Wide Open Spaces and Fly; their mixture of bluegrass, mainstream country music, blues, and pop songs appealed to a wide spectrum of record buyers, and where the women had once dressed as "cowgirls" with Lynch, their dress was now more contemporary.
"Cowboy Take Me Away", from Fly, became another signature song, written by Maguire to celebrate her sister's romance with country singer Charlie Robison, whom Emily subsequently married, exchanging her surname for Robison. However, a few of their songs brought controversy within their conservative country music fan base, and two songs caused some radio stations to remove the Chicks from their playlists: "Sin Wagon", from which the term "mattress dancing" takes on a new twist, and "Goodbye Earl", a song that uses black comedy in telling the story of the unabashed murderer of an abusive husband. (The band later made a video portraying the nefarious deed, with actor Dennis Franz playing the murdered husband). In an interview, Maines commented about Sony worrying about the reference to "mattress dancing" in "Sin Wagon", refusing to discuss it in interviews. She said, "Our manager jokes, 'You can't say mattress dancing, but they love the song about premeditated first degree murder'! She continues, " ... so it's funny to us that "mattress dancing" is out and murder is in!"
2001–02: Record label dispute and Home
After the commercial success of their first two albums, the band became involved in a dispute with their record label, Sony, regarding accounting procedures, alleging that in at least 30 cases Sony had used fraudulent accounting practices, underpaying them at least $4 million (£2.7m) in royalties on their albums over the previous three years. Sony held out, and the trio walked away, with Sony suing the group for failure to complete their contract. The Chicks responded with their own $4.1-million lawsuit against Sony Music Entertainment on August 27, which added clout to claims made by singers Courtney Love, Aimee Mann, and LeAnn Rimes against the recording industry. After months of negotiation, the Chicks settled their suit privately, and were awarded their own record label imprint, Open Wide Records, which afforded them more control, a better contract, and an increase in royalty money, with Sony still responsible for marketing and distribution of albums.
During the time that they worked with Sony to reconcile their differences, Dixie Chicks debuted their quiet, unadorned song "I Believe in Love" on the America: A Tribute to Heroes telethon following the September 11, 2001 attacks. The three women found themselves home, in Texas, each happily married, planning families, and writing songs closer to their roots, without the usual pressures of the studio technicians from the major labels. The songs they didn't write were solicited from songwriters who wrote with a less commercial emphasis. The result was that Home, independently produced by Lloyd Maines and the Chicks, was released August 27, 2002. Unlike the Chicks' two previous records, Home is dominated by up-tempo bluegrass and pensive ballads; and Emmylou Harris added her vocals to "Godspeed". In addition, the text of the opening track and first single, "Long Time Gone", was a pointed criticism of contemporary country music radio, accusing it of ignoring the soul of the genre as exemplified by Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, and Hank Williams. "Long Time Gone" became the Chicks' first top ten hit on the U.S. pop singles chart and peaked at No. 2 on the country chart, becoming a major success. Over six million copies of Home were sold in the United States.
Home also won Grammy awards, and other noteworthy accolades as before, though it fell short of reaching the diamond record status of the first two albums. Natalie Maines said afterward, "I want to check the record books and see how many fathers and daughters have won Grammys together".
By 2002, Dixie Chicks were featured on three television specials: An Evening with the Dixie Chicks, which was an acoustic concert primarily composed of the material from Home; "Divas VH1 Las Vegas" alongside Cher, Celine Dion, Shakira, Anastacia, Stevie Nicks, Mary J. Blige, Cyndi Lauper, Whitney Houston and Ellen DeGeneres; and a CMT three-hour television special, the 40 Greatest Women of Country Music. Ranked No. 13 out of 40, they were "selected by hundreds of artists, music historians, music journalists and music industry professionals—looking at every aspect of what a great artist is".
2003–05: Political controversy
During the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, Dixie Chicks performed in concert in London on March 10, 2003, at the Shepherd's Bush Empire theatre in England. This concert kicked off their Top of the World Tour. During the introduction to their song "Travelin' Soldier", Natalie Maines, who along with Robison and Maguire is also a native of Texas, said:
"Just so you know, we're on the good side with y'all. We do not want this war, this violence, and we're ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas."
The comment about United States President George W. Bush, who had served as the 46th Governor of the State of Texas from 1995 to 2000 prior to his election to the Presidency, was reported in The Guardian's review of the Chicks concert. Shortly thereafter, the U.S. media picked up the story and controversy erupted.
Maines's remark sparked intense criticism; media commentators claimed that she should not criticize President Bush on foreign soil. Maines responded, "I said it there 'cause that's where I was."
The comment by Maines angered many country music fans and was financially damaging. Following the uproar and the start of a boycott of Dixie Chicks' music, which, in turn, caused Dixie Chicks' cover of the Fleetwood Mac song "Landslide" to fall sharply from No. 10 down to 43 on the Billboard Hot 100 in a single week. It dropped out of the entire chart the following week. Maines attempted to clarify matters on March 12 by saying, "I feel the President is ignoring the opinions of many in the U.S. and alienating the rest of the world."
The statement failed to appease her critics, and Maines issued an apology on March 14: "As a concerned American citizen, I apologize to President Bush because my remark was disrespectful. I feel that whoever holds that office should be treated with the utmost respect. We are currently in Europe and witnessing a huge anti-American sentiment as a result of the perceived rush to war. While war may remain a viable option, as a mother, I just want to see every possible alternative exhausted before children and American soldiers' lives are lost. I love my country. I am a proud American."
In wake of the statement against President Bush many supporters of the Dixie Chicks dropped their support (including their sponsor Lipton). In one famous anti-Dixie Chicks display, former fans were encouraged to bring their CDs to a demonstration at which they would be crushed by a bulldozer. In one poll by an Atlanta radio station, 76 percent of listeners who participated responded "if I could, I'd take my CDs back". Bruce Springsteen and Madonna both felt compelled to come out in support of the right of the band to express their opinions freely; however, Madonna herself postponed and then altered the April 1 release of her "American Life" video in which she threw a hand grenade toward a Bush look-alike, after witnessing the backlash against the Chicks.
One exception to the list of Dixie Chicks opponents was country musician and vociferous Iraq war opponent Merle Haggard, who in the summer of 2003 released a song critical of US media coverage of the Iraq War. On July 25, 2003, the Associated Press reported him saying:
I don't even know the Dixie Chicks, but I find it an insult for all the men and women who fought and died in past wars when almost the majority of America jumped down their throats for voicing an opinion. It was like a verbal witch-hunt and lynching.
On April 24, 2003, Dixie Chicks launched a publicity campaign to explain their position. During a prime-time interview with TV personality Diane Sawyer, Maines said she remained proud of her original statement. The band also appeared naked (with private parts strategically covered) on the May 2 cover of Entertainment Weekly magazine, with slogans such as "Traitors", "Saddam's Angels", "Dixie Sluts", "Proud Americans", "Hero", "Free Speech", and "Brave" printed on their bodies. The slogans represented the labels (both positive and negative) that had been placed on them in the aftermath of Maines' statement.
President Bush responded to the controversy in an interview with Tom Brokaw on April 24:
The Dixie Chicks are free to speak their mind. They can say what they want to say ... they shouldn't have their feelings hurt just because some people don't want to buy their records when they speak out ... Freedom is a two-way street ... I don't really care what the Dixie Chicks said. I want to do what I think is right for the American people, and if some singers or Hollywood stars feel like speaking out, that's fine. That's the great thing about America. It stands in stark contrast to Iraq ...
Meanwhile, Dixie Chicks were preparing for their nationwide Top of the World Tour; some general death threats led them to install metal detectors at the shows. At the first concert on the tour, the group received a positive reception. Held in Greenville, South Carolina, on May 1, it was attended by a sell-out crowd of 15,000 (tickets for most of the shows had gone on sale before the controversy erupted). The women arrived prepared to face opposition—and Maines invited those who had come to boo to do so—but the crowd erupted mostly in cheers. The degree of hatred directed toward the Chicks included a specific death threat against Maines in Dallas that led to a police escort to the July 6 show and from the show directly to the airport.
Colorado radio station KKCS suspended two of its disc jockeys on May 6 for playing music by Dixie Chicks. On May 22, at the Academy of Country Music awards ceremony in Las Vegas, there were boos when the band's nomination for Entertainer of the Year award was announced. However, the broadcast's host, Vince Gill, reminded the audience that everyone is entitled to freedom of speech. The Academy gave the award to Toby Keith, who had been engaged in a public feud with Maines ever since she had denounced his number one hit "Courtesy of the Red, White, & Blue (The Angry American)" as "ignorant" the year before. On May 21, 2003, Maines wore a T-shirt with the letters "FUTK" on the front at the Academy of Country Music Awards. A spokesperson for Dixie Chicks said that the acronym stood for "riends nited in ruth and indness", but many, including awards host Gill, took it to be a shot at Keith ("uck Yo oby eith"), and some Dixie Chicks critics responded by wearing T-shirts with "FUDC" on the front. In an October 2004 appearance on Real Time with Bill Maher, Maines acknowledged disagreements with Keith, and said that when she wore the shirt she "thought that nobody would get it".
A few months after Maines's comment about Bush, Dixie Chicks performed and donated $10,000 for Rock the Vote, a website designed to encourage young adults to register to vote. Maines said, "We always felt like we were searching for ways to make an impact outside of music ... I believe everything that's happened in the last few months happened for a reason. A lot of positive things have come from it, and this is just one of them. We're very dedicated and motivated about this now."
In the fall of 2003, Dixie Chicks starred in a television commercial for Lipton Original Iced Tea, which made a tongue-in-cheek reference to the corporate blacklisting and the grassroots backlash. In the ad, the Chicks are about to give a stadium concert when the electricity suddenly goes out; they continue anyway, performing an a cappella version of "Cowboy Take Me Away" to the raving cheers of the fans.
In a September 2003 interview, band member Martie Maguire told the German magazine Der Spiegel: "We don't feel a part of the country scene any longer, it can't be our home anymore." She noted a lack of support from country stars, and being shunned at the 2003 ACM Awards. "Instead, we won three Grammys against much stronger competition. So we now consider ourselves part of the big rock 'n' roll family." Some fans were dismayed, but the group made no clear response.
The same year, the American Red Cross refused a $1 million promotional partnership from Dixie Chicks. The organization did not publicize the refusal; it was revealed by the Chicks themselves in a May 2006 interview on The Howard Stern Show on Sirius Satellite Radio. According to National Red Cross spokesperson Julie Thurmond Whitmer, the band would have made the donation "only if the American Red Cross would embrace the band's  summer tour". Whitmer further said:
"The Dixie Chicks controversy made it impossible for the American Red Cross to associate itself with the band because such association would have violated two of the founding principles of the organization: impartiality and neutrality ... Should the Dixie Chicks like to make an unconditional financial donation to the American Red Cross, we will gladly accept it."
According to the Red Cross, Dixie Chicks had not responded to two offers to join the National Celebrity Cabinet of the Red Cross prior to the controversy. Little more than a year later, Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita battered the Gulf Coast, with the group's home state of Texas directly in the wake of the disaster. In September 2005, the Dixie Chicks debuted their song "I Hope" in the Shelter from the Storm: A Concert for the Gulf Coast telethon. The song was one of only two performed at the concert that was not donated for the subsequent DVD. The Chicks subsequently made their new single available as a digital download single with proceeds to benefit hurricane relief through Habitat For Humanity and the American Federation of Musicians Gulf Coast Relief Fund, rather than the Red Cross.
In October 2004, Dixie Chicks joined the Vote for Change tour, performing in concerts organized by MoveOn.org in swing states. While the Dixie Chicks' artistic collaborations with James Taylor went well, sharing the stage on many occasions, Maines' comments before and during the concerts revealed a certain degree of nervousness over the future career path of the Dixie Chicks.
In 2005, Maguire, Robison, and Maines joined with 31 other recording artists, including Dolly Parton, Christina Aguilera, Yoko Ono, and Mandy Moore supporting relationships of all kinds, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity on a two-disc release titled Love Rocks, with their song from the album Home called "I Believe in Love".
2006–07: Taking the Long Way and Shut Up and Sing
On March 16, 2006, Dixie Chicks released the single "Not Ready to Make Nice" in advance of their upcoming album. Written by Dixie Chicks and songwriter Dan Wilson, it directly addressed the political controversy that had surrounded the group for the previous three years:I'm not ready to make niceI'm not ready to back downI'm still mad as hell and I don't have time to go 'round and 'round and 'roundIt's too late to make it rightI probably wouldn't if I could'Cause I'm mad as hellCan't bring myself to do what it is you think I should
and, in reaction to the death threat Maines had received, as well as a response to a protesting woman telling her small child to say "screw 'em":I made my bed and I sleep like a babyWith no regrets and I don't mind sayin'It's a sad sad story when a mother will teach herDaughter that she ought to hate a perfect strangerAnd how in the world can the words that I saidSend somebody so over the edgeThat they'd write me a letterSayin' that I betterShut up and sing or my life will be over
Robison said, "The stakes were definitely higher on that song. 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." She said writing the song had become their "therapy", since they had to hold in so many stored emotions for so long. Thus, the band considered the album not so much political as very personal.
The question of how the group's new record would fare commercially attracted intense media interest. Taking the Long Way was released in stores and online on May 22, 2006. The album was produced by Rick Rubin who had worked with hard rock acts such as Red Hot Chili Peppers and System of a Down, as well as idiosyncratic singers such as Johnny Cash and Neil Diamond. The band felt they had nothing to lose by a newer approach, and possibly quite a bit to gain. All 14 tracks were co-written by the three Chicks, alongside various other songwriters, including Neil Finn on "Silent House".
The album contained several tracks that seemed to indirectly reference what the group called "The Incident", and the group remained defiant. Maguire commented that, "I'd rather have a smaller 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. We don't want those kinds of fans. They limit what you can do." Maines also retracted her earlier apology to President Bush, stating, "I apologized for disrespecting the office of the President, but I don't feel that way anymore. I don't feel he is owed any respect whatsoever."
Taking the Long Way debuted at number one on both the U.S. pop albums chart and the U.S. country albums chart, selling 526,000 copies in the first week (the year's second-best such total for any country act) and making it a gold record within its first week, despite having little or no airplay in areas that had once embraced them. The Chicks became the first female band in chart history to have three albums debut at No. 1.
Both "Not Ready to Make Nice" and second single "Everybody Knows" were largely ignored by U.S. country radio and failed to penetrate the top 35 of the Hot Country Songs chart. In June 2006, Emily Robison noted the lack of support from other country music performers: "A lot of artists cashed in on being against what we said or what we stood for because that was promoting their career, which was a horrible thing to do. ... A lot of pandering started going on, and you'd see soldiers and the American flag in every video. It became a sickening display of ultra-patriotism." Maines commented, "The entire country may disagree with me, but I don't understand the necessity for patriotism. Why do you have to be a patriot? About what? This land is our land? Why? You can like where you live and like your life, but as for loving the whole country ... I don't see why people care about patriotism." In Europe, however, the two singles were well received by country radio, peaking at Nos. 13 and 11 respectively and remaining on the European Country Charts for more than 20 weeks each.
The band's Accidents & Accusations Tour began in July 2006. Ticket sales were strong in Canada and in some Northeastern markets, but notably weak in other areas. A number of shows were canceled or relocated to smaller venues due to poor sales, and in Houston, Texas, tickets never even went on sale when local radio stations refused to accept advertising for the event. In August, a re-routed tour schedule was announced with a greater emphasis on Canadian dates, where Taking the Long Way had gone five-times-platinum. The tour's shows themselves generally refrained from any explicit verbal political comments, letting the music, especially the central performance of "Not Ready to Make Nice" (which typically received a thunderous ovation during and after the song), speak for itself. As part of the tour, Dixie Chicks became the first major band to hire a designated blogger "all-access" to keep up with them in their promotional activities and tour. When the Chicks performed again at Shepherds Bush Empire, site of "The Incident", Maines joked that she wanted to say something the audience hadn't heard before, but instead said, "Just so y'all know, we're ashamed the President of the United States is from Texas," to much laughter and applause.
In 2006, Taking the Long Way was the ninth best-selling album in the United States. At the 49th Grammy Awards Show on February 11, 2007, the group won all five categories for which they were nominated, including the top awards of Song of the Year and Record of the Year, both for "Not Ready to Make Nice", and Album of the Year, for Taking the Long Way. Maines interpreted the wins as being a show of public support for their advocacy of free speech. It had been 14 years since an artist had swept those three awards. After the Grammys, Taking the Long Way hit No. 8 on Billboard 200 and No. 1 on the country album charts and "Not Ready to Make Nice" re-entered the charts at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100. The music video for "Not Ready to Make Nice" was nominated for the 2007 CMT Music Video Awards in the categories of Video of the Year and Group Video of the Year, but did not win. The group was nominated for the 2007 Country Music Association's award for Top Vocal Group, but lost to Rascal Flatts.
At the 2006 Toronto International Film Festival, Cabin Creek Films, the production company of award-winning documentarian Barbara Kopple, premiered Dixie Chicks: Shut Up and Sing. The documentary follows the Chicks over the three years since the 2003 London concert remark and covers aspects of their musical and personal lives in addition to the controversy.
An ad for Shut Up and Sing was turned down by NBC on October 27, 2006, citing a policy barring ads dealing with "public controversy". Ads were rebuffed by the smaller CW network as well, but local affiliate stations of all five major broadcasters, including NBC and CW, ran promotional spots for the film in New York and Los Angeles, the two cities where it opened that day. The film's distributor Harvey Weinstein said, "It's a sad commentary about the level of fear in our society that a movie about a group of courageous entertainers who were blacklisted for exercising their right of free speech is now itself being blacklisted by corporate America".
2008–present: hiatus and Court Yard Hounds
Following Shut Up and Sing, the band went on hiatus for several years while the members spent time with their families.
At a December 2007 rally in Little Rock, Arkansas, Maines expressed support for the West Memphis Three, three men convicted of a 1993 triple murder who many believe to be innocent. Maines cited a recent defense filing implicating Terry Hobbs, the stepfather of one of the victims, and posted similar comments in a letter on the Dixie Chicks' web site. In November 2008, Hobbs sued Maines and the Dixie Chicks for defamation as a result of her statements. On December 2, 2009 a US Federal judge dismissed the defamation case on the grounds that Hobbs had not shown the statements were made with actual malice.
A proposed April 2008 commercial spot to promote Al Gore's "We Campaign" involving both the Dixie Chicks and Toby Keith was eventually abandoned because of scheduling conflicts.
Maguire and Robison released new music in 2010 without Maines. Lloyd Maines, Natalie's father, has stated that the trio are "definitely still an entity". On January 15, 2010, it was announced that the duo would be known as Court Yard Hounds and were set to release an album in May 2010 with Robison on lead vocals.
On March 16, 2010, Dixie Chicks announced they would be touring with the Eagles on the Eagles 2010 Summer Tour. The tour began on June 8, 2010, in Toronto and was stadium-based, visiting cities such as Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington, St. Louis and Winnipeg with a performance at the New Meadowlands Stadium in New Jersey. Country singer and guitarist Keith Urban appeared at selected shows as well.
They also appeared in the 2010 music documentary Sounds Like a Revolution, about recent protest music in America.
The trio sang "You", accompanied by the Steep Canyon Rangers, on Rare Bird Alert, a Steve Martin bluegrass album released in March 2011.
In March 2011, Maines made a solo recording of the Beach Boys hit "God Only Knows" for the final episode of the HBO series Big Love.
In early 2011, Robison and Maguire said that new music involving Maines is in the works.
On October 17, 2011, Dixie Chicks played the Concert for Wildfire Relief in Austin, Texas. During the set, Maines stated that there was "zero hesitation" when the group was asked to do the show.
In December 2012, Maines announced that she would be releasing her first solo rock album titled Mother. The album was released on May 7, 2013.
Also in December 2012, it was announced that Dixie Chicks would be replacing Lady Antebellum as headliners' at Canada's Craven Country Jamboree on July 13, 2013. The band performed at the Ottawa Bluesfest July 6, 2013, Cavendish Beach Music Festival on July 7, 2013 and the Scotiabank Saddledome on October 31, 2013.
On July 16, 2013, the Court Yard Hounds released their sophomore album, Amelita.
On August 18, 2013, Dixie Chicks announced their first full length tour since 2007, the Long Time Gone Tour. The tour visited various cities across Canada in 2013. The tour also incorporated the C2C: Country to Country festival held in London and Dublin during March 2014.Tarnow, Noah Dixie Chicks Rolling Stone Magazine; 12/01/98 Issue 801, pg.37 Dickerson, James L. Go, Girl, Go!The Women's Revolution in Music, Schrimer Trade Books, 2005, p. 173 Brooks, Robert. "The All-Inclusive Dixie Chicks Timeline". Retrieved March 25, 2008. "Walnut Valley Association 1987 and 1989 National fiddle championships in archive". Wvfest.com. Retrieved March 2, 2008. "Dixie Chicks Fans Net". Dixiechicksfans.net. Retrieved 2010-12-26. Clark, Renee "Can the Dixie Chicks make it in the big time? Local Heroes" Dallas Morning News, March 1, 1992; Retrieved March 23, 2008 "Dixie Chicks Biography 8 Note Online Retrieved February 10, 2008. "Dishing With The Dixie Chicks" Redbook March 1, 2002. Retrieved March 23, 2008. Brace, Eric (March 30, 1992). "Dixie Chicks". The Washington Post. Retrieved March 28, 2008 Willonsky, Robert (November 23, 1995). "Red hot". Dallas Observer. Dickerson, James L. (2000) Dixie Chicks: Down-Home and Backstage. Taylor Trade Publishing, Dallas, Texas. ISBN 0-87833-189-1. Chick Chat fan club (2007). "Chick Chat". dixie-chicks.com. Retrieved 2007-09-13. "The "Pre-Nat" Chicks". Original Dixie Chicks. 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-13. Ankeny, Jason Dixie Chicks Biography "Malkin, Nina". Dixie Chicks Henhouse. Chickoholic.tripod.com. Retrieved May 12, 2011. Official Dixie Chicks Site Smith, Chris (January 19, 2008), "100 Albums You Need To Own", The Vancouver Sun, Retrieved May 12, 2011. RIAA Official Assessment Site, Retrieved May 9, 2008 "Dixie Chicks Biography", Elle, Retrieved May 30, 2008 Horizon Award requirements "Dixie Chicks Riding High". CBS News. October 5, 2000. Retrieved May 12, 2011. Willman, Chris (2005), Rednecks & Bluenecks: The Politics of Country Music, New York: The New Press, pp. 21–23, ISBN 978-1-59558-017-7 "Couples Shine At Country Awards", CBS News, May 2, 2000, Retrieved February 3, 2008 Dixie Chicks Official site Willman, Chris (July 27, 1999), "Fair Ladies", Entertainment Weekly, Retrieved July 8, 2008. Willman, Chris (September 23, 1999), "Girls' Power", Entertainment Weekly "Dixie Chicks sue Sony for $4m". BBC News. August 29, 2001. Retrieved June 26, 2008. "Sony sues Dixie Chicks for Breach of Contract". Retrieved June 13, 2008 "Dixie Chicks Sue Sony; Band says label owes them millions in royalties". Rolling Stone. August 28, 2001. Retrieved June 30, 2008. "Recording Artists Sue, Aiming to Rock Industry Action Expected to Put Big Labels Under Scrutiny". The Boston Globe. Aimeemanninprint.com. 2001-10-07. Retrieved 2010-12-26. Leggett, Steve. "Martie Maguire: Biography". MSN. Retrieved March 9, 2008. Hermes, Will NPR Music All Things Considered. NPR Music. August 28, 2002. Retrieved April 20, 2008. Dixie Chicks website Retrieved 13 June 2008 CMT's 40 Greatest Women of Country Music "'Shut Up And Sing': Dixie Chicks' Big Grammy Win Caps Comeback From Backlash Over Anti-War Stance". Democracy Now!. February 15, 2007. Retrieved February 24, 2007. Clarke, Betty (2003). "The Dixie Chicks" Guardian Unlimited . Retrieved 2007-01-22. Campbell, Duncan (2003). "'Dixie sluts' fight on with naked defiance" Guardian Unlimited. Retrieved 2006-04-13. Cusic, Don & Szatmary, Peter (Summer 2009), "O'er the Land of the Free and the Home of Country Music", Phi Kappa Phi Forum, p. 22 [full article is on pp. 19–22]. Sachs, Andrea (2006-05-21). "Chicks In the Line of Fire – Printout – TIME". Time.com. Retrieved 2010-12-26. "Upset About Bush Remark, Radio Stations Dump Dixie Chicks", WCVB (Boston), retrieved June 17, 2008 "Dixies dropped over Bush remark", BBC News, March 20, 2003, retrieved October 30, 2006 "Dixie Chicks singer apologizes for Bush comment" CNN, March 14, 2003, retrieved April 9, 2007 "Dixie Chicks singer apologizes for Bush comment". CNN. March 13, 2003. Retrieved March 19, 2011. Havrilesky, Heather, "The Madonna video you can't see on MTV", retrieved June 16, 2008 "Springsteen: Dixie Chicks 'Getting A Raw Deal'", NBC-6, April 24, 2003, retrieved June 16, 2008 "New Merle Haggard Tune Blasts US Media Coverage of Iraq War". Commondreams.org. 2003-07-25. Retrieved 2010-12-26. "Merle Haggard Sounds Off". CBS News. 2003-07-25. "Full Text of Brokaw's Interview With Bush", The New York Times, April 25, 2003, retrieved March 19, 2011 "Dixie Chicks 'get death threats'". BBC News. 2003-04-24. Retrieved 2009-03-02. Boucher, Geoff (2004-09-30). "Once burned, but not shy". Los Angeles Times. "Dixie Chicks recall death threat". MSNBC. Associated Press. 2006-05-11. Retrieved 2009-03-02. "Radio Jocks Suspended For Playing Dixie Chicks". Miami, FL: NBC-6. May 7, 2003. Archived from the original on March 3, 2006. Retrieved January 16, 2010. Gilbert, Calvin (June 20, 2003), "CMT News Special Explores Maines-Keith Controversy", CMT.com, retrieved March 17, 2007 "Fresh Dixie Chicks row erupts". BBC News. June 3, 2003. Retrieved May 25, 2010. "News : Dixie Chicks' Film Draws Full House of Bush Detractors". CMT. 2006-11-03. Retrieved 2014-07-17. "The Dixie Chicks Interviewed by Bill Maher" (Windows Media Video). 4:47–5:18. Devenish, Colin. "Dixie Chicks Rock the Vote", Rolling Stone, July 22, 2003. Retrieved August 19, 2008. Lewis, Randy (2003-09-26). "The Chicks talk, music fans listen". Los Angeles Times. "Myths and Legends about the American Red Cross". American Red Cross. Retrieved 2009-02-13. "The Howard Stern Show for May 25, 2006". The Howard Stern Show. HowardStern.com. 2006-05-26. Tarradell, Mario (2006-07-23). "Hit album eases the sting of country music's barbs for outcast Dixie Chicks". The Dallas Morning News (The Providence Journal). Retrieved 2009-04-02. The other was Kelly Clarkson's "Shelter". "Shelter from the Storm: A Concert for the Gulf Coast DVD specs". MSN. Retrieved 2009-05-18. "New Dixie Chicks recording, "I Hope", available as digital download on Tuesday, September 27th" (Press release). DixieChicks.com. 2005-09-26. Retrieved 2009-05-18. "Shelter From the Storm", MSNBC, retrieved March 8, 2008 "'Shelter' Fund Drive Extends Reach", retrieved March 8, 2008 Orloff, Brian (2004-10-04). "Bruce, Dave, R.E.M. Swing". Rolling Stone. Silverman, Stephen M. (2004-10-04). "Springsteen, Stipe Hop On Kerry Bandwagon". People. "HRC, Centaur Entertainment to Release 'Love Rocks' CD Feb. 8", Human Rights Campaign, January 28, 2005, retrieved May 25, 2008 "Dixie Chicks Return, 'Taking the Long Way'" – NPR Interview on All Things Considered, May 23, 2006. Block, Melissa (23 May 2006). "Dixie Chicks Return, 'Taking the Long Way'". All Things Considered (NPR). Retrieved 2008-07-29. "Dixie Chicks: 'Taking the Long Way'". MSN.com. 2006. Retrieved 13 Apr 2006. Tryangiel, Josh (29 May 2006). "In The Line of Fire". Time. "Dixie Chicks New Album, Taking The Long Way, Debuts At No. 1 On Billboard Top 200" (Press release). Columbia Records. 2006-05-31. Sweeting, Adam (14 June 2006). "How the Chicks survived their scrap with Bush". London: The Daily Telegraph. "European CMA". "Radio, promoter each blames other for cut in Chicks tour". Houston Chronicle. 2006-08-15. du Lac, J. Freedom (2006-06-19). "Chicks Magnet". The Washington Post. Dixie Chicks: Shut Up and Sing, at Shepherds Bush, London Moody, Nekesa Mumbi (February 12, 2007). "Dixie Chicks lead Grammys with 5 awards". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Associated Press. Retrieved July 19, 2011. I think people are using their freedom of speech with all these awards. We get the message. Leeds, Jeff (2007-02-13). "Grammy Sweep by Dixie Chicks Is Seen as a Vindication". The New York Times. "CMT Music Video Award Nominees". CMT. "Awards Database: Artist Detail: Dixie Chicks". CMA Awards. "IMDb: Shut Up & Sing". Melora Koepke (2 Nov 2006). "High Notes". Hour. Retrieved 7 Apr 2007. "NBC rejects TV ads for Dixie Chicks film". China Daily. 29 Oct 2006. "Letter from Natalie Maines: WM3 Call to Action". Dixiechicks.com. November 26, 2007. Finn, Natalie (December 4, 2008). "Natalie Maines, Fellow Dixie Chicks Courted for Libel". E!. Retrieved December 7, 2008. "Lawsuit against Dixie Chicks dismissed". ninemsn. Associated Press. December 6, 2009. Archived from the original on December 9, 2009. du Lac, J. Freedom (December 31, 2008). "Talk Talk: Toby Keith Unplugged". The Washington Post. Morris, Edward (January 11, 2010). "Two Members of Dixie Chicks Releasing Album Without Natalie Maines". CMT. Retrieved December 26, 2010. "Two Dixie Chicks Rename Themselves as Court Yard Hounds". CMT. January 15, 2010. Retrieved December 26, 2010. "Dixie Chicks To Tour With The Eagles". Courtyardhounds.com. March 16, 2010. Retrieved December 26, 2010. Graff, Gary (July 22, 2010). "Dixie Chicks Record New Song, Eye Future Plans". Billboard. Retrieved October 24, 2011. "Natalie Maines Debuts New Song". People. March 14, 2011. Retrieved August 25, 2011. Stromblad, Cory (July 19, 2011). "Dixie Chicks Join Fight Against Ticket Scalpers". The Boot. AOL. Retrieved July 19, 2011. "Dixie Chicks headline concert for Texas wildfires relief". Entertainment Weekly. Associated Press. October 18, 2011. Retrieved October 20, 2011. "Dixie Chicks’ Natalie Maines Covers Pink Floyd’s ‘Mother’". Tasteofcountry.com. 2012-07-19. Retrieved 2014-07-17. "Twitter / 1NatalieMaines: @JRig2010 @tray2276 May 7th". Twitter.com. 2012-12-18. Retrieved 2014-07-17. "Dixie Chicks to Headline Canadian Festival | Music News". Rolling Stone. 2012-12-26. Retrieved 2014-07-17. "Bluesfest 2013 Info & Schedules - Ottawa Citizen Digital Lounge". Digitallounge.ca. 2013-06-04. Retrieved 2014-07-17.