Dixie Chicks Biography
It’s been said too many times about too many people, but for once it’s true: the Dixie Chicks are one of a kind. Since exploding onto the national country music scene just three years ago, the Texas-by-way-of-Nashville trio has won millions of fans and an avalanche of awards and critical acclaim. Blending bluegrass skills, pop accessibility, rock beats and stone country music with a brash, irreverent attitude, the Chicks have created a fresh new sound that’s instantly recognizable and always engaging.
Tracing their roots back to the days when Emily Robison and Martie Maguire sang on the streets of Dallas, the Chicks took flight when feisty Natalie Maines came on board, complementing the sisters’ formidable prowess as singers – and pickers – with what one critic called “one of the most powerful voices in the business.” Framing Maines’ stunning vocals with elegant harmonies and plenty of banjo, fiddle and dobro, the Chicks’ debut CD, Wide Open Spaces, took the country music world by storm in 1998, earning the group top awards, including a Grammy for Country Album Of The Year, and selling more than 11 million copies – the best performance by a debut album in the history of country music. Their follow-up, Fly, released in late 1999, proved that the trio was no one-hit wonder, as it reaped an even greater harvest of honors, including more Grammys and the Country Music Association’s marquee award, Entertainer of the Year.
Yet as spectacularly as the Dixie Chicks’ recordings have been received, their brilliance in the studio has found a counterpart on stage. Their reputation as adept musicians and spectacular performers led them from sharing the stage with country music’s finest on the George Strait Country Music Festival and the Tim McGraw tour to being enthusiastically welcomed by pop audiences while playing alongside Sara McLachlan, Sheryl Crow, Stevie Nicks and others on the 1999 Lilith Fair tour as well as the televised “Sheryl Crow & Friends Live From Central Park” event.
Their “Fly” tour of 2000 saw audiences around the country flocking to catch the dynamic trio in action – and in a departure from the country music norm, they were as likely to include young girls dressed as their favorite Chick as they were adults. “Chicks Rule!” and “Chicks Kick Ass!” were the slogans of choice as the group not only delivered their own irresistible hits but introduced fans to friends and influences such as Willie Nelson, Ricky Scaggs and Patty Griffin. And the trio lived up to the shouts. When the tour came to a triumphant close, shortly after the broadcast of their own NBC concert special, it had become the biggest of the year by a single country headlining act.
With a unique combination of respect for country’s musical traditions and an unwillingness to be bound by its social ones, it’s natural that the Dixie Chicks have earned recognition far beyond the genre. Profiled – and acclaimed – everywhere from 60 Minutes with Dan Rather to the pages of USA Today Entertainment Weekly, and Rolling Stone, with TV appearances on Late Night with David Letterman, the Tonight Show, the Rosie O’Donnell Show, the prestigious Sessions at W. 54th series and many more, it’s no exaggeration to say that the Dixie Chicks are among the foremost – and most provocative – ambassadors country music has today.