Dixie Chick Natalie Maines Steps In It--Again

Friday, 15 February 2013 06:18 AM Written by 

We all remember the saga of the Dixie Chicks, the hottest Nashville stars of the early 21st Century,  who got crosswise with the American public after member Natalie Maines spoke out against the Iraq War and then-President George W. Bush at a 2003 London concert, at a time the War still enjoyed wide public support.  They did not back down or any way try to walk back the statement and were further criticized for making the statement overseas.

The blowback pretty much ended their reign as country fans turned against them, country radio quit playing them and the very mention of their name sparked intense debate and anger.  It didn't end their careers, but it certainly knocked them off the pedestal, and that didn't change even when public opinion turned against the war itself.   Repeated attempts to turn things around went nowhere.  The group, however has never formally disbanded and is scheduled to play two dates this summer, even though Maines is preparing a solo album.

A few days ago, interviewed at a Bruce Springsteen concert, Maines made it clear her focus has shifted from country and she has very little interest in trying to return to that market.  Interviewed by CMT, she equated trying to make a country comeback with going back to an "abusive husband."  This is the CMT video link.

She made similar comments in a recent Howard Stern interview.

I thought the Chicks made great music and I think Maines has both guts and talent.  Agree with her or not, it took courage to say what she said (and the others endorsed) regardless of circumstances. But Barbara Kopple's outstanding documentary Shut Up And Sing!  captured the controversy (starting with the remarks in London) and resulting repercussions. It reveals a situation far less black and white than many of the group's supporters or critics might have realized.  Neither Chicks nor detractors came off looking that great.

Whatever, Maines is moving on, still firing shots at the country audience even if it makes her seem bitter.  Anyone who saw Kopple's film will know the answer. If Maines ever really wants to know why it all didn't blow over,  the answer is as close as the nearest mirror.


Today marks the last day for Post-Gazette Deputy Managing Editor Mary Leonard, who led the PG's digital team. Mary, who's retiring, oversaw the paper's digital expansion, including the addition of multimedia features and things like the Staff and Community Voices blogs.  As someone who's had the pleasure of working with her, I just want to say thanks, Mary, and best wishes for a great retirement.


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