Tuesday, March 28, 2006

dixie chicks "not ready to make nice"

In March 2003, just days before the first bombs were dropped over Baghdad, the Dixie Chicks (a country music group consisting of lead singer Natalie Maines, guitarist, banjo player, and backing vocalist Emily Robison, and violinist and backing vocalist Martie Maguire) sparked controversy at a concert in London. In between songs, Maines, a Lubbock native, said that as a group the Dixie Chicks were ashamed to be from the same state as President Bush.

A firestorm of angry phone calls and letters to radio stations caused country radio to boycott the Dixie Chicks' music, despite its previous popularity. Conservative activists staged burnings and bulldozings of former fans' unwanted CDs. The members of the bluegrass trio received numerous death threats. They had really caused a ruckus.

However, when the Dixie Chicks came back to the United States to promote their Home album that featured a cover of Stevie Nicks' "Landslide" and a song about the Vietnam era entitled "Travelin' Soldier," they played to sold out crowds. Their first show was in Greenville, South Carolina, where 15,000 fans cheered them on. When Natalie gave time for detractors to jeer, none were heard over the screams and cheers.

The Dixie Chicks still had a problem with country radio. Their hits weren't played on many stations. Natalie made the comment that after being snubbed at the Country Music Awards, but still winning three Grammys against tougher competition, they knew that country wasn't their home anymore.

In 2004, the Dixie Chicks toured with James Taylor on behalf of the MoveOn PAC's Vote for Change Tour. In late 2005, they recorded "I Hope," a song dedicated to the victims of Hurricane Katrina. All profits from the single were donated to charity to help New Orleans residents affected by the disaster.

Now, the Dixie Chicks are gearing up to release their first new album since the controversy, Taking the Long Way. It is anticipated to have a different sound than the other albums, aimed at a wider audience. The first single is "Not Ready to Make Nice," a song co-written by all three of the group members. They admit that the song is a statement about the comments Natalie made and the reactions that ensued. Some lyrics include "I’m not ready to make nice/I’m not ready to back down/I’m still mad as hell and I don’t have time to go round and round and round/It’s too late to make it right/I probably wouldn’t if I could/‘Cause I’m mad as hell/Can’t bring myself to do what it is you think I should" and, in reaction to the death threats the group received, "It’s a sad sad story when a mother will teach her daughter that she ought to hate a perfect stranger/And how in the world can the words that I said/Send somebody so over the edge that they’d write me a letter sayin’ that I better shut up and sing or my life will be over."

Robison released a statement about the single.
"The stakes were definitely higher on that song. We knew it was special because it was so autobiographical, and we had to get it right. And once we had that song done, it freed us up to do the rest of the album without that burden."
The Associated Press reports that many country music stations are adopting a "wait-and-see" attitude toward the single. Some are slipping the song into rotation without making any fuss and just seeing if the listeners notice and how they respond. Others are waiting to see how the single fares in other markets. The song has received airplay in some of the major markets for country music, such as Dallas, Austin, and Nashville.

The full song and the lyrics can be found at the band's official website. To try and get the song played on country radio in North Texas, you can request it online from country stations like 96.3 KSCS, 96.7 The Twister, and 99.5 The Wolf.


texas toad said...

The link is www.dixiechicks.com

Bradley, you've never struck me as a Dixie Chicks fan! Politics aside, I loved the Home album, in part because it was more acoustical. "Accessible" usually means more commercial, so I'll hold out passing a verdict on the music until the CD is released. I'm glad they're defiant. I still cringe thinking about the jingoism that prevailed at the start of the war. Will we ever learn?

Bradley Bowen said...

Exactly! One radio DJ in Denver isn't playing the song despite requests because he thinks it's too defiant. He wants to wait for the album and find a different song to embrace that isn't controversial. Honestly, though... these girls did nothing wrong. They practiced free speech, and they were treated like trash by the supposedly moral conservatives. These girls were given death threats... I don't think anyone has the right to tell them to get over it or not to sing about it.

It's a great song, and I contacted all of the country stations in the area encouraging them to play it.

Gitmo or Bust said...

Thanks for the heads up on the new album. I'll go buy it just to support them.