Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Topical, a little

The last few days, Craig and I have been watching a documentary called "Shut Up and Sing," which is about the Dixie Chicks and the aftermath of lead singer Natalie Maines's 2003 comment about being embarrassed to be from the same state as George Bush.

I'm not a fan of country music, generally speaking. I first heard the Dixie Chicks a few years before this controversy came up, maybe in 2001 or 2002. And they didn't hurt my ears. In fact, their close harmonies and use of traditional instruments pleased my ears, as did their feminist sensibility and generally cool vibe (yes, that's a technical term only used by those of us with extensive musical training...don't even try to understand if you've taken less than ten years of music lessons).

But not hating, even kind of liking, their music did not make me a fan, either. I never bought a CD or made any effort to hear their music. I simply didn't complain when I heard it at other people's houses or on their car radios.

My reaction to the 2003 controversy was a hearty, "'Atta girl!" and little more. I continued to think the Dixie Chicks were just fine, didn't bother me any, and maybe they were a little cooler than I thought if they were going the opposite direction than many country artists (think of Toby Keith's jingoism that bangs you over the head). And sure, I imagined that they'd lose a few fans for a while.

Like I said, we've been watching this documentary in bits and pieces, and we've still got another chunk to watch, maybe tonight, maybe tomorrow. I'm riveted, at this point, and thinking that I may need to make a trip to the music store (and trust me, this would represent a huge change in my typical behavior) and purchase their entire catalog. Because these chicks are awesome.

And, just for the record, I, too, would be embarrassed to share a home state with George Bush, but the Dixie Chicks have given me a reason to think that maybe Texas isn't so bad after all.


ms. kitty said...

The "new" Chicks are different from the "old" Chicks, Kaleigh, and I liked them better in the "old" days, but I was so impressed by their resolve after the incident you mention. I really liked the documentary and went out and bought a couple of the newer DVDs, just to be supportive. Their songs, especially on the DVD that represents their comeback recording, are excellent, and not terribly country.

janet said...

I have generally been a Chicks fan since 1999 (Wide Open Spaces almost seemed like my "going away to college" theme song)...especially with the traditional instruments (like you mentioned).

I actually saw them in concert in 2003...after the controversy and I guess since I'm not a "normal" country music listener--I really didn't recognize the scope of everything that was going on.

I was pleased with Natalie for speaking her mind--and I knew people were pissed off--but to what extent?

Then I saw the Docu (quite recently) and couldn't believe it! Really? That goes on in our country (I guess I knew it, but was a bit naive)...

I was so much more impressed with them after watching Shut Up and Sing!...and their latest album is very much NOT country.


Scott Gerard Prinster said...

The Chicks rock! I was raised on country music, play country fiddle (and am starting to learn the banjo, that pinnacle of redneckedness), and I loved the Chicks from the first time I heard them. I have all their music, including their pre-Natalie albums. I prefer their music from the years when they were solidly country, but I'm so proud that they sacrificed big success by not backing down from the controversy that dogged them. I still get chills when I hear "Not Ready to Make Nice," and can't watch the video without dissolving in tears.

There are only a few well-known country artists who have questioned our rush to war and the jingoistic whoring of people like Toby Keith, and I give them all the support I can.

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