I would never sit here and claim that I am some huge Dixie Chicks fan. Hell, up until 2 weeks ago, the only Dixie Chicks song I could name was Wide Open Spaces. I had no idea that they are the highest-selling female band in any musical genre ever. I was aware of their little controversy regarding some comments about the mouth breather in office, but only in the most basic sense. Natalie Maines said she was embarrassed Bush was from their home state of Texas and a bunch of overly sensitive people got all “offended”, whined to radio stations and they stopped playing their music. I did not know that to this day, some 4 years later, the country music establishment is still giving them the cold shoulder. Judging from what Nashville, pop country radio and CMT is going to bed with these days, being ignored probably isn’t a bad thing. I can not speak from experience, but I would imagine being in the same room with Toby Keith irreversibly lowers one’s IQ by 15 points or so.
So, a couple of weeks ago the wife and I sit down and watch the Dixie Chicks documentary, Shut Up and Sing. Unbelievable. I kept thinking, “Are you serious? That’s all it was?” What do you think the reaction/backlash would have been if she said that today? I’ll bet there are folks out there that threw their Dixie Chicks cds away 4 years ago that are embarrassed by this administration today.
But this is a music blog, not a political blog. No, if you wanna hear my blind hatred for all things political you must come and get drunk with me, so let’s steer this back to the music.
Before all the controversy, The Dixie Chicks had the number one song on country radio, Traveling Soldier. They kept playing it at the beginning of the movie and I was diggin’ it, so I made a mental note to download it after the flick. As the movie continued, I was surprised and inspired by how well they stuck together as a unit, and their courage to stand up in the face of the controversy and fight back against stupidity. Their refusal to back down off the comments was music to my ears. A big time band with resolve. They could have sucked the dick of the establishment and moved on, but instead they stood up for themselves. INCONCEIVABLE! Watching pieces of the song-writing process for their 2006 release Not Ready To Make Nice gave me enough insight into how personal the song was that I decided I wanted to give it a listen. I wasn’t sure if I was gonna like it or not but I decided to buy it in lieu of downloading it to show support for the girls and the first amendment, and to offer a big “fuck you” to Toby Keith and country radio. That’s probably also the essence of this post.
All in all it’s an “eh?” album for me. I really like the tracks that I can directly identify as being born from commentgate. However, at this point I’m really only lukewarm on the rest of it. That could be because I inherently felt a connection to certain tracks because of the movie and the others will grow on me. It could also be that those are the only tracks on the cd that are likable. I’m gonna give it a few more weeks before I decide, but I can tell you that the high points of Not Ready To Make Nice make it worth checking out, even if it’s by download. The song Traveling Soldier is also terrific, but my main reason for this entire post was to say that you should give this documentary a look see. It is a fantastic rock doc and I bet you’ll feel the same way about The Long Way Around after watching it.
Dixie Chicks Official Site, Dixie Chicks on myspace, Buy The Long Way Around
This is the video for Not Ready To Make Nice. While being the lead single of their last album it is also the direct response to all the controversy. You go girls! You won a fan outta me.
The trailer for Shut Up and Sing: