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Dixie Chicks
They came as bit of a shock to everyone. In a vengeful twist of fate, those promoting the values of a new America came out on top.
Talk about weird; no, not the Al Yankovic kind, but the ‘establishment supporting the anti-establishmentarians’ kind. Nobody expected the Dixie Chicks to sweep the Grammys, at least we didn’t. But come Grammy night (read: morning, since we’re in India) and a gazillion mouths dropped on hearing those 10 words (two words, five times; you do the math).
Okay, let’s go back in time and go over what’s been stated, apologised for, and then un-apologised for.

DC in London
“Just so you know, we’re ashamed the President of the United States is from Texas.” Those words just had to have burned Natalie Maines’s tongue the moment they were uttered. She must have realised she’d pushed way beyond her limit. Surely enough, she was soon taking back what she said.

The Dixie Chicks have long been anti-establishmentarians, at least as much as Country girls can get. Their dogs never died, and they never crashed their pick-ups, ever. Instead, they went about murdering abusive husbands and running away from commitment. That should have been too hard to digest for the conservative Country fans; but they found enough support, because at the end of the day, they were still Texans at heart.

Perhaps it was just that their egos were a little bloated after their sweep at the Grammys that caused them to make that comment some 20 days after. Or perhaps they were hoping to “do what Bruce Springsteen would do”. Or perhaps they just forgot that the bulk of their fanbase wore the same hats the Texan President of the United States did.

Not long after, Maines issued an apology to their all-American fans, saying that they shouldn’t have disrespected the office of the President. But that didn’t make things fine and dandy again; ironically, some fans were a bit hurt that they apologised. So, last year, they apologised for their apology. No wonder they supported John Kerry in 2004.

DC on fire
Anyhow, after “the incident”, they were banned on Country radio and all but shunned from Texas. Toby Keith made good on their blunder and performed on stage with a backdrop showing Maines with Saddam Hussein. The whole “you’re either with us, or against us” sentiment kicked in every time the Chicks were mentioned. And when they were nominated at the American Music Awards for Entertainer of the Year, the hat-wearing part of the audience resounded in a synchronised boo.

All this attention couldn’t have gone unnoticed, and the Chicks got a camera crew to follow them around through their time of strife and they called it Shut Up And Sing. They then went on to follow up 2002’s Home with Taking the Long Way in 2006. They were shunned yet again from Country radio in the States, but their album found them some pop success. Their slap-in-the-face single, Not Ready To Make Nice, was aimed at all naysayers indicating they were…er…not ready to make nice.

You can read the rest of our feature on Dixie Chicks in the March 2007 issue of The Record Music Magazine available at your local newsagent.


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