Music Monday: The Dixie Chicks Come Roaring Back

Once again, a shout out to Coti Howell at Nashville Noise for providing me with the inspiration for another Music Monday.

This past week, Coti wrote about the new album just released by the Dixie Chicks, Gaslighter, which features their latest hit single of the same name.

I have to admit I don’t know much about the Dixie Chicks and their music except they got in some trouble for speaking their mind back in 2003.

Here’s how Coti puts it:

“… the Dixie Chicks were one of the hottest acts in country music. “Travelin’ Soldier” had just become their third consecutive top-five single but then the bottom fell out. Lead singer Natalie Maines criticized then-President George W. Bush over the war in Iraq.* The fallout was, to put it mildly, swift. “Travelin’ Solider” went from No. 1 to dropping completely off the charts in just a few short weeks. The group had to reroute an entire arena tour. It seemed their career had come to a halt. The 2000 CMA recipients of the Entertainer of the Year Award were sent out to pasture.”

*There’s a brief review of the controversy at the end of this post.

Coti states that the harmonies, the melody, and the drumbeat make it seem as if the trio never left. It’s a welcome return to one of the greatest music groups of all time.

In a previous post, I had mentioned that I have developed a soft spot for female country artists, so I had to listen to their new song.

All I can say is “WOW!” and that I have to add the Dixie Chicks to my list of favorite female country artists. Great voices, great instrumentals, and great lyrics. And not as important, but a great music video to go with it doesn’t hurt.

Here’s the video:

The song is apparently based on some real experiences that one of the members of the band has had.

In case you are not familiar (like me) with the term gaslighter, here is a definition of gaslighting from Wikipedia:

Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation in which a person or a group covertly sows seeds of doubt in a targeted individual, making them question their own memory, perception, or judgment, often evoking in them cognitive dissonance and other changes such as low self-esteem. Using denial, misdirection, contradiction, and misinformation, gaslighting involves attempts to destabilize the victim and delegitimize the victim’s beliefs. Instances may range from the denial by an abuser that previous abusive incidents ever occurred to the staging of bizarre events by the abuser with the intention of disorienting the victim. 

And in case you are not familiar with any of the previous work by the Dixie Chicks (again, like me), here are a couple of their previous hit songs.

Here is the one mentioned above, from back in 2003:

I had trouble deciding whether to include the next song, since it is one of my all-time favorite songs but by a different artist. But the Dixie Chicks do a wonderful job; it is a wonderful homage to the Stevie Nicks version.

So congratulations to the Dixie Chicks on your comeback, and I wish them continued success.

Speaking your mind today is not as problematic as it was back then. In fact, it may be considered a badge of honor, and I certainly admire performers who are willing to do so.

2003 Controversy, from Wikipedia:

During the diplomatic run-up to the Allied invasion of Iraq in 2003, the Dixie Chicks performed in concert in England on March 10, 2003, at the Shepherds Bush Empire theatre in London. This concert kicked off their Top of the World Tour. Whilst introducing their song “Travelin’ Soldier”, Natalie Maines, who along with Robison and Maguire is a native of Texas, said to the audience:

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.”

Maines’s remark sparked intense criticism in the United States and angered many country-music fans and was financially damaging. 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.”

I found it reassuring that  Bruce Springsteen and Madonna both felt compelled to come out in support of the right of the band to express their opinions freely.

*image from American Songwriter

26 thoughts on “Music Monday: The Dixie Chicks Come Roaring Back

  1. The new album isn’t out until May, I think: they’ve only released the title track so far but it’s an absolute belter so, as a long term fan, I can’t wait for the album! That Wikipedia piece tells only a part of the story: they were vilified in the media, there were public burnings of their CDs, and Natalie Maines received death threats. They have only released one studio album since then, 2006’s Taking The Long Way. One of the songs on it, Not Ready To Make Nice, is Natalie’s response – as you’re a new fan I highly recommend you start with the video for that song, which is incredibly powerful. And try the video for Goodbye Earl if you like a little dark humour with your music 😉

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  2. I’m not a big fan of country music (although today’s country is far different than the twangy stuff I remember growing up with). I know more about the Dixie Chicks because of the political controversy rather than their music, although the little I’ve heard I like.

    I was not familiar with the term “gaslighting” until the last five years. I’m wondering if it was commonly used back in the day or if it became popular more recently.

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    1. I’m starting to appreciate country music more and more, and I’ve taped the Ken Burns series on it, but have yet to watch it.

      I think the term gaslighting has been around since the 1930s and 40s, but I was not familiar with it either.

      Thank heaven for Wikipedia!

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    1. I think Trump is such a divisive character that such comments would be embraced by half the country and vilified by the other half. But I don’t think such comments today would be as damaging to a band’s career as they apparently were nearly 20 years ago.

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  3. I am glad they were able to find there way back to music, as for them it is likely more a passion for music than a job that pays well. And to not be able to do the thing you love because the industry doesn’t agree with your personal beliefs must be very frustrating. However, if you are willing to accept the fame and fortune that comes with success, you must also be aware that you now live a public life. Although, I fully support an individual’s right to free speech, I also agree with the right of supporters to disagree and end their support if they feel betrayed. Definitely two sides to this story. Great post, Jim, as always!

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    1. I apprecaite your thoughts on the issue, Brad, and I agree with you 100%. I have no problem with people not buying their albums or attending their concerts because they don’t agree with a band’s political views, that’s the chance a band takes when they take a stand.

      But death threats seem to go a little too far, as does being put on some sort of blackball list by the industry.

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    1. I remember the first time I heard Landslide sung; it was at a college party that had a live band (consisting of a couple of college guys and a girl who was the lead singer). From that moment on, it has always been one of my favorites.

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      1. Yeah we spent a whole lecture on it and watched the documentary called “Shut Up And Sing” which I would highly recommend if you haven’t seen it already!

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  4. I’m not country music fan, but I have heard of the Dixie Chicks, they collaborated with my favorite artist Beyoncé. I did hear of the controversy, it’s unfortunate they had a set backside of her first amendment right. They all have beautiful voices and I wish them much success

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    1. Hi LaShawn! It’s good to hear from you. I was wondering if you were still writing – it looks like you changed the name of your blog and so I did not pick up on that when going through my WordPress reader. Now that I know the name of your blog, I look forward to reading your posts once again.

      And yes, the Dixie Chicks do have beautiful voices…

      Hope all is well!

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