Isn’t It Time to Forgive the Dixie Chicks and Welcome Their Talent Back to Country Music?
Forgive me if I'm a little late to the "forgiveness" party, but isn't it about time country music did itself a favor and welcomed back the Dixie Chicks with open arms as one of the most talent trios in the music industry?
It was on this day (March 19th) in 2000 the Dixie Chicks hit #1 with their album, Fly, and the album has gone on to sell more than 10-million copies and won two Grammy Awards. That was pre-2003, when things fell apart career-wise for the Chicks. Natalie Maines' comments about being embarrassed by President Bush and the impending invasion of Iraq was a lot more about pandering to the British audience for which they were performing than it was about the comments. Yet, it's pretty close to impossible to hear a Dixie Chicks song on the radio now 12-years later.
Not only is it ludicrous to continue punishing these ladies for something they said over a decade ago, but it's also a disservice to country radio. I could point out the dozens of times country artists have said despicable things about our current president, but I have a feeling I'm barking up the wrong tree if you didn't happen to notice that already.
For all those I hear defending the bombardment that comes the current presidential administration's way, nobody's willing to stand up and admit that pulling the Chicks off country radio was childish, reactionary and uncalled for? It was a publicity stunt on the part of a few radio companies that forced the rest within the genre to follow suit. Many of those people aren't even in the business anymore. A lot of military personnel and supporters of the military taking offense in the early days, but the remark was a shot at the president, not the military.
The Dixie Chicks' debut album, Wide Open Spaces, could be one of the greatest country albums ever, and it certainly ranks right up there with any of the best when it comes to debut albums. The album has sold more than 12-million copies, but I'd guess the large majority of those sales came in the album's first five years of release. Once those comments were made March 9th, 2003, it was over.
It amazes me the number of people that are screaming for more traditional country and less of this "bro" country, yet no one is willing to let three traditional ladies that are extremely talented anywhere near the genre. It's not as if they really even need country music. They've had critical success since 2003, including 2007 when they won five Grammys, including Album of the Year for Taking the Long Way. That's why the format needs to openly welcome the Chicks back.
There are only a handful of ladies making any headlines in country music, and the format needs a fresh voice among the ladies. Since when did country music not love ladies that are tough as nails and opinionated? If Miranda Lambert called for President Obama's head on a stick she'd be praised as hero, yet everyone's still holding a grudge 12 years later? I get it. I know where the politics lean in this red state and a "red" radio format, but we're cutting off our noses to spite our faces. At least, that's the way my momma would have put it.
If the US & Cuba can begin to normalize relations, don't you think we can end the political exile of the Dixie Chicks and see if they have any great songs left in the tank.