Dixie Chicks

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Long-lasting Country Music group known for its neotraditionalist country and bluegrass influences.

The Dixie Chicks founded in 1989 when sisters Martie and Emily Irwin (now known as Martie Maguire and Emily Robison) joined with bassist Laura Lynch and guitarist/vocalist Robin Lynn Macy. The band recorded several bluegrass-influenced albums on indie labels under the production of Lloyd Maines. Macy left in 1992 and Lynch took over lead vocals for the band's last independent album. After signing to Monument Records in the mid-1990s, Lynch left as well because she was dissatisfied with the Irwin's push for a more youthful sound. Taking over as lead vocalist was Natalie Maines, Lloyd's daughter.

With a new sound led by Natalie's vocals, the band finally broke through in the latter half of the 1990s with its first Monument album, Wide Open Spaces. The album and its follow-up, Fly, both produced several big hits (including the controversial "Goodbye Earl") as well as Grammy and CMA awards.

Following the dissolution of the Monument Nashville branch (which had produced no other successful artists during its timespan), the Chicks moved to Columbia Records for the bluegrass-influenced Top of the World. This album looked like it might bring the Chicks' career to new heights, with back-to-back crossover smashes in "Landslide" and "Long Time Gone," as well as "Traveling Soldier," which resonated well in the wake of post-9/11 patriotism. However, during a tour, Maines remarked that she was ashamed to be from the same state as then-president George W. Bush. This remark led to a huge backlash from the country music community, including a sharp decline in radio airplay ("Travelin' Soldier" fell from #1 to #3 to #43 in two weeks) and a longtime departure before Taking the Long Way came out in 2006. This album was a lot more vitriolic in nature, and although lead-off single "Not Ready to Make Nice" fared poorly at country radio, it was a massive pop hit and won three Grammy Awards.

Robison and Maguire wanted to record a new Dixie Chicks album in 2009, but after Maines said that she was not ready to do one, the sisters recorded one album under the name Court Yard Hounds. They had also planned to start touring as such, until Maines decided to join the other two and tour alongside Keith Urban and the Eagles in 2010.

Discography:
  • Thank Heavens for Dale Evans (1990)
  • Little Ol' Cowgirl (1992)
  • Shouldn't a Told You That (1995)
  • Wide Open Spaces (1997)
  • Fly (1999)
  • Home (2002)
  • Top of the World Tour: Live (2003)
  • Taking the Long Way (2006)
Dixie Chicks provides examples of the following tropes:
  • The Band Minus the Face: Subverted with the album that Martie and Emily cut, if only because they credited it to the Court Yard Hounds.
  • Foot Focus: The Chicks' bare feet appear on the inside cover art of the Fly album.
  • A Good Name for a Rock Band: The band named itself after the Little Feat song "Dixie Chicken."
  • Asshole Victim, Domestic Abuse, Death by Woman Scorned, Hollywood Restraining Order, Murder Ballad: All apply to "Goodbye Earl."
  • Long Runner Lineup: The Maines/Maguire/Robison lineup (1997–present).
  • Lyrical Dissonance: "Goodbye Earl" is awfully upbeat for a song about two women who kill an abusive husband and then dispose of the body.
  • New Sound Album: Wide Open Spaces succeeded in part because it blended the band's existing bluegrass sound with mainstream country and pop influences. Oh yeah, and the fact that it was the first album with Natalie Maines on lead vocals.
  • Police Are Useless: the cops are in no way able to protect Wanda from Earl's abuse.
  • Take That: Many of the songs on Taking the Long Way address the reaction to Maines head-on.
    • During their feud with Toby Keith over the song "Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue," Maines wore a shirt with the acronyms "FUTK," claiming that the initials stood for "Friends United in Truth and Kindness."
  • Taking You with Me: is Inverted in If I Fall You're Going Down with me since the falling refers to love and not death.