Welcome To AlbumLinerNotes.com
"The #1 Archive of Liner Notes in the World"
Biography by Andrew Leahey
Formed in 1989 as a Western-themed bluegrass band, the Dixie Chicks later became one of the most popular acts in contemporary country music, as well as the highest-selling female group of all time. Beginning with 1998's Wide Open Spaces, they struck a balance between the commercial, radio-ready aesthetic of country-pop and the rootsy flair of neo-traditionalist country, a combination that helped distinguish the trio from such concurrent stars as Shania Twain. The Dixie Chicks further distanced themselves from country's conservative boundaries as their career progressed, although their outspoken beliefs — specifically Natalie Maines' open criticism of the war in Iraq, which ignited a backlash in 2003 — were sometimes exercised to the detriment of the band's sales. Nevertheless, the Dixie Chicks remained a compelling band in concert and on record, boasting three-part harmonies and an instrumental prowess that was virtually unparalleled among similar groups.
Sisters Martie and Emily Erwin were raised in
The move toward a more contemporary sound began with 1992's Little Ol' Cowgirl, a transitional record whose rich sound (aided in part by the contributions of several sidemen, including steel guitar legend Lloyd Maines) resulted in Macy's departure. With Lynch now assuming lead vocal duties, the remaining trio resurfaced in 1993 with Shouldn't a Told You That. Shortly after the Dixie Chicks signed with Sony's newly revived Monument imprint in 1995, Lynch left the group as well — according to a December 10, 1998, feature in The Dallas Observer, both she and Macy were likely victims of the Erwins' desire to foster a more youthful image. Soon named as Lynch's replacement was 21-year-old lead vocalist Natalie Maines, Lloyd Maines' able-voiced daughter.
The lineup switch brought with it a new contemporary wardrobe and an equally modernized country sound; still, few predicted the massive success of the Dixie Chicks' 1998 major-label debut, Wide Open Spaces. After the leadoff single "I Can Love You Better" became the group's first Top Ten country hit, both "There's Your Trouble" and the winsome title track rose to the top of the Hot Country Songs chart. Wide Open Spaces went quadruple platinum within its first year and eventually became the best-selling group album in country music history, earning a slew of Grammy and CMA awards along the way. Fly followed in 1999, immediately returning the Dixie Chicks to the upper reaches of the country charts with the lead single "Ready to Run." Another smash hit was "Goodbye Earl," which spun the tale of an abusive husband who died at the hands of his vengeful wife. Although the lyrics owed a good deal to black comedy, "Goodbye Earl" (as well as another song, "Sin Wagon," whose lyrics touched upon
The Dixie Chicks were now genuine superstars, and they joined the likes of Shakira, Mary J. Blige,
However, the Top of the World Tour also marked a turning point for the band. On opening night in
Content provided by All Music Guide. (C) 2009 All Media Guide, LLC.