Dixie Chicks, as most know them, are Natalie
Maines and the sisters Emily Strayer and Marti
They are phenomenal singers and musicians
approaching each song with laser-like
The sisters got their start very early on
busking (performing in public spaces for tips)
before forming the all-cowgirl band, The Dixie
Chicks, with two other women.
was a late addition, replacing the two who
helped broaden the musical reach of the group,
and, suddenly, The Dixie Chicks burst onto the
scene with widespread success in record sales,
live performances, and radio airplay.
their first giant hits was the album “Wide
Open Spaces,” which ultimately sold in excess
of 12 million copies.
the title track from that album:
the next five years, their popularity grew and
grew in both the “country” arena and the “pop”
another giant hit for them:
Take Me Away
Once in awhile,
the Dixie Chicks would release a song that
the radio stations refused to play.
One of those was “Goodbye Earl”:
they did sue their record label, Sony, for
unpaid royalties. (In a private settlement,
they wound up with their own private label
and a much better royalty rate. Go
But, overall, everything was great.
The Dixie Chicks were performing a concert
in England. Angry about the invasion
of Iraq, Natalie told an audience the band
was ashamed that President Bush was from
their home state, Texas.
The negative reaction was immediate.
Radio stations blacklisted them, and the
band got an avalanche of death
threats. Within the band, this became
known as “The Incident.”
The Dixie Chicks waited 3 years to craft a
musical response and when they did, it
didn’t get them back on most country radio
stations or win them back all of their
unhappy country music fans.
But the album, in its first week of release,
went to #1 on both the pop and the country
Top 100 charts.
won them an armful of Grammys, including the
rarely attained trifecta: Album of the
Year, Record of the Year, and Song of the
first single from that album, “Not Ready to
Make Nice,” was a fierce, “take no
prisoners” pushback to the abuse the band
Ready to Make Nice
Dixie Chicks endured, but they withdrew
from touring for
awhile and pursued other
endeavors. Natalie released a solo
album, and Martie and Emily formed the
They made occasional appearances here
and there, but they didn't
release another album until 2020:
that year, they dropped the Dixie from
their name and became known as “The
Chicks.” They made the change
amid calls for the removal of Confederate
symbols and nostalgia prompted by the
Black Lives Matter movement.
a tune from that album. As you'll
see, they’ve lost none of their ferocity: