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Dixie Chicks
"Taking The Long Way"

© Columbia

February 12 - 18, 2017

Year of Release: 2006
Rating:
  • The Long Way Around
  • Easy Silence
  • Not Ready To Make Nice
  • Everybody Knows
  • Bitter End
  • Lullaby
  • Lubbock Or Leave It
  • Silent House
  • Favorite Year
  • Voice Inside My Head
  • I Like It
  • Baby Hold On
  • So Hard
  • I Hope

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    Ok, this is not a political site. However, our current year is 2017. We now have a new U.S. President, Donald Trump. And as he is "controversial" to many, there was another "controversy" with the Dixie Chicks, towards the President at the time, G.W. Bush. The Dixie Chicks had previously made a name for themselves in Country Music. Their previous albums did extremely well, reaching #1 on Country charts, and their albums, some of them, reaching the top spot on the Billboard Hot 200 Album Chart.

    Taking The Long Way was the Dixie Chicks' seventh album in 2006. Although the album hit #1 on Billboard's Country Album chart for 9 weeks, not one song from the album hit #1 on the Country singles chart (Billboard), and two weeks at the top spot on Billboard's Hot 100 Album Chart.

    The first three tracks, "The Long Way Around," "Easy Silence" and "Not Ready To Make Nice" were the results of the controversy in 2003 from Dixie Chick member Natalie Maines, and her critical remarks to President G.W. Bush. Under President Bush's command, the U.S. was preparing to invade Iraq under the alleged belief that Saddam Hussein was hiding "weapons of mass destruction." Like many people in the U.S. and the rest of the world who opposed the war from the start, more than one million Brits had marched again the impending invasion. Natalie Marnes looked out over the audience at Shepherd's Bush Empire Theater and said, "Just as you know, we're on the good side with y'all. We do not want this war, this violence, and we're ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas."
    I researched this from uproxx.com


    That was it. It was painful to watch as the press piled on and she had to make an apology that felt forced, and ultimately did not good anyway. Her fellow Dixie Chicks, Emily Robinson and Martie Maguire, publicly stood by her, as they watched their career go down. Her comments were a country career killer. The reaction was swift, brutal and ongoing. Stations boycotted the group and fans burned their CDs.

    Despite the controversy, questions of concern were for other music artists, reflecting on political issues: Ted Nugent, Hank Williams Jr. Both of them made their political remarks as well. Nugent has always been vocal, whether you agreed with him or not. Hank Jr. was dropped by ESPN for his comments regarding President Obama, comparing him to Hitler.

    And then, there's our current President, Donald J. Trump... Again, this is not a Political website...

    But the point in all this, the controversial remaks of Natalie Maines killed the Dixie Chicks' career. The good news, is that their album Taking The Long Way Home won the 2007 Grammy album of the year. "Not Ready To Make Nice" also won song of the year. The Grammy voters supported the Dixie Chicks, both musically and politically.

    Yet as a whole, as in previous albums by the Dixie Chicks, Taking The Long Way Home is not as upbeat as their past albums, and singles. The lyrics were more serious, likewise the music itself is Country-sounding, but not as upbeat and wholeheartedly as before. Call it "growing up." Like everyone else, everyone is getting older and wiser. Natalie Maines took it into a different direction, by stating her opinions. In this case, an opinion regarding politics.

    Ten years later, in 2013, Nataline Maines pretty much still stood by in what she said. And has things changed since her comment in 2003? In Country music, it looks like it did. Country artists have been more silent in stating what they want to say, especially on political views. It's the fear of losing your audience, losing your fans, losing your music sales.

    In 2017, things are somewhat the same, but then again, we have Donald J. Trump... People are either for his ideas for our country or not. It seems that more people are being more crticial of him, then how they disagreed with other past Presidents. Trump is more blunt, more vocal, more demanding. This is what threw everyone else off, in how other Presidents related to the public, and the Press. And, it's quite scary.

    Oh, I forgot, this is NOT a Political website...

    As I was writing all of this, I was listening to this Dixie Chicks in the background. It's a bit more darker. Sure, it is Country-sounding. Maybe a little more Americana than Country. And as I was reading up on this album, it was produced by Rick Rubin. Ahhh, I can now see how this album stands out the way it did. Rubin is an incredible producer. He tends to take an album into another direction. And how the Dixie Chicks' previous releases were compared to this one, it is a huge difference. The songs have been updated, not just by lyrics, but by the Dixie Chicks' sound as well. This is what Rubin's producing work so well.

    However, this "different sounding" album just may have been a downfall. It's not what the fans expected. Their past songs, such as "Wide Open Spaces," "There's Your Trouble," "Long Time Gone," "Travelin' Soldier" defined as true Country gems, with its upbeat happy-go-lucky style. Even my personal favorite, "I Can Love You Better" -- it's preppy, bouncing your head along with the music, happy style is really not heard on Taking The Long Way. And another favorite of mine is the remake of Fleetwood Mac's "Landslide", and most were looking for another remake tune that would be just as enjoyable. It's not here either.

    Was the so-called downfall due to Rick Rubin? Absolutely not. Was it Natalie Maines' political comment? Yes. The first three songs here pretty much said so. Without the controversy, the album would have done much better, even on Rubin's expense. Aside from Maines' comment, the album is quite well. It was a different approach (again by Rubin). Production wise, it was another great accomplishment. "I Hope" is a standout track. It's quite different than your normal sounding Dixie Chicks style. In fact, it sounds more like R&B, as I can compare this song to that of The Staple Singers. It was a charity single in 2005, for the Shelter From The Storm: A Concert For The Gulf Coast telethon. The single's proceeds were for the benefit of Hurricane Katrina relief.

    Taking The Long Way would be the last studio album by the Dixie Chicks. The controversy comment practically put the nail in the coffin.

    The Dixie Chicks (minus Maines -- Emily Robinson and Martie Maguire) became the Court Yard Hounds, and released one album. The trio went on tour with The Eagles, on the Eagles 2010 Summer Tour. In 2011 and 2012, they had been touring off and on. In 2013, Natalie Maines released a rock album, entitled Mother. The Court Yard Hounds released their second album. The trio continued touring that year. Tour dates were announced in 2015, for a 2016 tour, outside the United States and extended to North America.

    Will we see a new "comeback album" from the Dixie Chicks? Something tells me no, but its good to see that they are still together, touring, and recording.




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