The Dixie Chicks are back, but don’t expect them to resume their country connections.
In a new cover story for Allure‘s April 2020 issue, the band members — Natalie Maines, Martie Maguire and Emily Strayer — open up about the 2003 political controversy that debilitated their country music careers. Recounting the fallout after their public disapproval of the Iraq war and then-President George W. Bush, the musicians told the magazine they no longer feel part of the country community.
“When we started doing this music, I liked the people in our industry. We always waved that country flag when people would say it wasn’t cool. And then to see how quickly the entire industry turned on us,” said Maines, 45, of the backlash at the time.
The singer added: “I was shocked that people thought that we were different than what we were. I always felt like we were so genuine.”
On Wednesday, the Dixie Chicks released “Gaslighter,” their first new single in 13 years and first off their upcoming album, out May 1. The new musical effort from the group came from a place of honesty, said Maines, who added that she doesn’t regret her past statements.
“I felt the most pride in our last album — maybe it was worth the controversy,” she said. “It was so personal and so honest; this album even more so.”
The public comment that landed the popular country girl band in hot water? At a concert in London 17 years ago, Maines addressed the crowd of fans, saying: “Just so you know, we’re on the good side with y’all. We do not want this war, this violence. And we’re ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas.”
Backlash quickly ensued, with fans burning their CDs and radios banning their music from airwaves.
“I wanted the audience to know who we were and what we were about,” Maines told Allure. “I do not like when artists get on their soapbox — it’s not what people are there for; they’re there to listen to your music — [but] the politics of this band is inseparable from the music.”
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In recent years, the Dixie Chicks have charted a gradual return to the spotlight. In 2016, they teamed up with Beyoncé on a “Daddy Lessons” remix and hit the road for their DCX MMXVI/MMXVII World Tour.
And last year they collaborated with Taylor Swift for the heartbreaking ballad “Soon You’ll Get Better,” which appeared on the pop star’s smash album Lover.
“I’m so proud of this album, no matter what happens with it,” Strayer, 47, told Allure. “It might be a slow burn; it might be a quick burn. I don’t know, but it will find its way to our fans. No matter what happens with all the radio or outlets or whatever, it’ll make its way.”
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