Pharyngula

A conversion narrative

I’m not usually a fan of country music, but I might have to make an exception for the Dixie Chicks.

Comments

  1. #1 Linkmeister
    October 27, 2006

    I reviewed the recent album (post-controversy) here. It’s not straight country by any definition.

  2. #2 Diego
    October 27, 2006

    I had prejudged the Dixie Chicks as Nashville bubblegum pop country before I seriously listened to them a year or two ago. I was happy to find that I was wrong.

  3. #3 quork
    October 27, 2006

    Which two albums of theirs would you recommend most highly?

  4. #4 Amit
    October 27, 2006

    PZ, you should have a listen to their new album. Its pretty good!

  5. #5 Stephen Frug
    October 27, 2006

    I never liked country music either, but the Dixie Chicks’ latest album is actually superb. I gave my own conversion narrative here. I must admit I haven’t gotten into any of their earlier music that I’ve heard, which backs up the idea that their latest album is different from country music — from their country music anyway.

    Definitely check it out. Amazing stuff, all the way through.

  6. #6 coturnix
    October 27, 2006

    Loved them from the start!

  7. #7 Pygmy Loris
    October 27, 2006

    I’ve liked the Dixie Chicks for a long time, but I love their new album. Check it out, not really country at all.

  8. #8 qalmlea
    October 27, 2006

    As SOON as I heard about the controversy, I went out and BOUGHT the album that was out at that time. Someone had to show them some support. They were brave enough to speak up at a time when the media and most of America were rolling over and asking GW to rub their bellies.

  9. #9 Stwriley
    October 27, 2006

    I’ve been a fan of the Dixie Chicks for years (but then, I’m also a bluegrass fan) and they’ve been among the most innovative people in country music, however you care to define that. If you listen to one of their older albums, like Wide Open Spaces you’ll hear a band very into country roots, bluegrass, and a blended modern (but hardly pop) sound. They’ve always been mavericks musically, and it’s no surprise they spoke out as part of the natural course of things when they didn’t like the way they saw the country going. Natalie in particular has always been outspoken, it’s just that this time she ran afoul of the worst kind of jingoistic tendencies in this country. I’ve never been happier than when they released Taking the Long Way. It was vintage Chicks, musically not what their fans might expect and ready to take on their critics both politically and musically. All I can say is, buy everything they’ve ever released, even if you don’t think of yourself as a country fan. You’ll be surprised.

  10. #10 edarrell
    October 27, 2006

    HA! Coturnix loved them from the start? I liked them when they were still doing free concerts at Duncanville’s Poe-Hobden Amphitheatre, in Duncanville, Texas . . .

    No, seriously, this is a great band. Even the old members they kicked out like them. They started out as relatively pure bluegrass, named themselves using the Little Feat tune while they were on their way to their first gig. Gotta love a story like that, especially one involving Little Feat and “Dixie Chicken.”

    The first two commercial albums are fine, and the third one is good, too. I commend them all. But then, I like almost anything with a bluegrass tinge.

    And, true to George Bush’s record against Vietnam vets or anyone who honors Vietnam vets, in the year prior to their comments against Bush in England, I believe the Dixie Chicks were the only band in pop or country to chart a tune that paid tribute to a Vietnam war soldier.

    So, of course, the Bushites must smite the band. Anyone who actually served in Vietnam is fodder for the Bush slander mill, and anyone who honors a Vietnam vet is due for character assassination, too.

  11. #11 QrazyQat
    October 27, 2006

    Lots of good stuuf from the Chicks. BTW, one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen online was Christopher Hitchens describing them as “fat fucking slags”, which is not just funny because Hitchens pales in comparison to, say, Maury Chaykin, but because Natalie Maines is real cute and the two sisters are absolutely gorgeous. (Link for proof.)

    I really liked their video for “Ready to Run”; the lyrics are words to live by for young girls:

    When the train rolls by
    I’m gonna be ready this time
    When the boy gets that look in his eye
    I’m gonna be ready this time
    When my momma says I look good in white
    I’m gonna be ready this time

    Oh yeah
    Ready, ready, ready, ready…ready to run

  12. #12 Jeb
    October 27, 2006

    Honestly I think it is a terrible idea for a movie… don’t get me wrong I hate Bush as much as the next liberal guy, but I wouldn’t pay money to watch this. A better idea for a movie might be an investigation into American politics and how in a supposedly democratic country, nepotism rules. Isn’t that what we call a Monarchy?

  13. #13 JackGoff
    October 27, 2006

    Seriously. The Dixie Chicks are beautiful,

    Though, if you make an exception to them, you have to make an exception to the Wailin’ Jennys.

  14. #14 Evan Murdock
    October 27, 2006

    Would you consider an exception for Robbie Fulks, too? He did, after all, pen God Isn’t Real.

  15. #15 Evan Murdock
    October 27, 2006

    Second on the Wailin’ Jennys, too. They’re playing here in Madison but I have to go to Billy Bacon and The Forbidden Pigs instead.

  16. #16 Odd Jack
    October 27, 2006

    Ah, the Dixie Chicks are great. Country is not my favorite genre, but the trio are among the country artists that do draw me in. I did really like the first CD. Not as crazy for the second. But the new one is fantastic. “Not Ready To Make Nice” is a great antheme to use for atheists, people ticked at the shoddy governance of the last several years, etc. It ought to be on the minds of forthright sorts.

  17. #17 "Q" the Enchanter
    October 27, 2006

    Hell, even if’n you ha’int a country fan you’ve gotta love the Chicks’ “Goodbye Earl,” a perfect marriage of music, lyric and vocal attitude:

    Goodbye Earle (words & music by Dennis Linde)

    Mary Anne and Wanda were the best of friends
    All through their high school days
    Both members of the 4H Club
    Both active in the FFA
    After graduation Mary Anne went out lookin’
    For a bright new world
    Wanda looked all around this town
    And all she found was Earl

    Well it wasn’t two weeks
    After she got married that
    Wanda started gettin’ abused
    She put on dark glasses and long sleeved blouses
    And make-up to cover a bruise
    Well she finally got the nerve to file for divorce
    She let the law take it from there
    But Earl walked right through that restraining order
    And put her in intensive care

    Right away Mary Anne flew in from Atalnta
    On a red eye midnight flight
    She held Wanda’s hand as they
    Worked out a plan
    And it didn’t take long to decide

    That Earl had to die

    Goodbye Earl
    Those black-eyed peas
    They tasted all right to me Earl
    You’re feeling weak
    Why don’t you lay down and sleep Earl
    Ain’t it dark
    Wrapped up in that tarp Earl

    The cops came to bring Earl in
    They searched the house
    High and low
    Then they tipped their hats
    And said ‘Thank You ladies
    If you hear from him let us know’

    Well the weeks went by and
    Spring turned to Summer
    And Summer faded into Fall
    And it turns out Earl was a missing person
    who nobody missed al all

    So the girls bouth some land
    And a roadside stand
    Out on Highway 109
    They sell Tennessee ham
    And strawberry jam
    And they don’t
    Lose any sleep at night

    ’cause Earl had to die

    Goodbye Earl
    We need a break
    Let’s go out to the lake Earl
    We’ll pack a lunch
    And stuff you in the trunk Earl
    Well is that all right
    Good Let’s go for a ride
    Earl hey…

  18. #18 Tyler DiPietro
    October 28, 2006

    BTW, one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen online was Christopher Hitchens describing them as “fat fucking slags”

    Isn’t that sort of like Christopher Hitchens calling someone an alcoholic? Oh well, he already calls Muslims bloodthirsty, which isn’t so much untrue as it is a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

  19. #19 Rey Fox
    October 28, 2006

    Not much of a narrative tho.

  20. #20 pablo
    October 28, 2006

    The Dixie Chicks were on the Oprah show this week (yeah, I know, Oprah) and they had to stop talking a number of times as the audience burst into continuous applause for their comments.

    I’m no fan of CW music either, but these women were articulate and seemed to gather strength from their travail.

  21. #21 Talen Lee
    October 28, 2006

    Astonishingly, my interest in the Dixie Chicks started when I was a teenage male and I saw them on CWT – basically, a hormonal thing because it was a trio of rather gorgeous blondes on a TV station my god-fearing parents would deign to let me watch.

    As my music tastes evolved, despite having gotten my hands on two of their albums (which I gave to my sister, whose tastes went more that way), I still found myself greatly appreciating their writing and poetry rather than the musical style they purport.

    I’m at the point where I’m looking to give them another shot, because they deserve the support.

  22. #22 Desert Donkey
    October 28, 2006

    Any decent ‘murinca ought to have some kd lang, melissa etheridge and willie nelson proudly on display alongside their dixie chicks. Even if you dont like country music (and I usually dont), it is the right thing to do. And a little diversity in music is a good thing.

    Whenever I wander into the red territory to the east I always mention kd and willie as my favorite country artists. It kinda messes with your average redneck’s synapses. A guy who likes country music cant be all bad, but … those are pot smoking hippie lesbian country musicians … dang.

    Its all good fun.

  23. #23 N.Wells
    October 28, 2006

    Conservatives can be remarkably good at whipping up an hysteria over statements that should be unexceptional. A little over a year ago, Senator Durbin had people ranting against him for saying that America’s presidentially approved methods of torture sounded like something out of Nazi Germany (well, they still do). John Lennon got into trouble with religious conservatives for saying (at the height of their popularity) that more people had heard of the Beatles than of Jesus.

    On the other hand, there seems to be no limit on how much over-the-top rhetoric the same rightwingers will tolerate from their own people. Ann Coulter insults all the 9/11 widows and calls all liberals traitors, Rush Limbaugh talks about feminazis and makes fun of victims of Parkinson’s disease, Pat Robertson can call for assassination of a foreign leader, and so on ad nauseum, and there is comparatively little admonition from the right. Not that this is news to all us “evilutionists”.

  24. #24 Don
    October 28, 2006

    Anybody remember this spoof apology;

    http://www.thespeciousreport.com/2003_dixiechicks.html

  25. #25 Graham
    October 28, 2006

    Any decent ‘murinca ought to have some kd lang, melissa etheridge and willie nelson proudly on display alongside their dixie chicks

    K.D. Lang is a Canuck…just sayin’.

    I’m generally into rock, blues, jazz and a little classical. But the Dixie Chicks rule. They don’t just stand there and look cute. They can really play their instruments.

  26. #26 Linkmeister
    October 28, 2006

    YouTube has a bunch of videos of them singing “Not Ready to Make Nice,” the single off the new album. Here’s one.

  27. #27 JJR
    October 28, 2006

    Love the Dixie Chicks…Here in Houston we have the good fortune to have on Saturdays “the Lonestar Jukebox” show which plays some of the most rebellious, subversive, not-ready-for-prime-time Country Music you’ve ever heard. I love the stuff, and you don’t hear it anywhere else in Houston. Give it a listen online at http://www.kpft.org — if you like what you hear, donate at pledge time!

  28. #28 Rich Clayton
    October 29, 2006

    Another “grassroots movement” that was actually nothing of the sort. From what I can tell, this was a message sent from the right-wing to entertainers and media figures, many of whom expressed doubts about the war. The message was this: “We control enough of the media to DESTROY you. And we will, if you step out of line.”

    It worked. I remember the celebrity outcry against the war suddenly becoming much quieter.

  29. #29 Peter Barber
    October 29, 2006

    It’s so ironic that ‘independent’ networks in the US are far more in hock to their commercial backers and their political ambitions than the BBC, a state broadcaster, is to the government of the day.

    I take some pleasure from the thought that profits from the film release will lead to a sizeable donation to the Democrats!

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