The festival that put women first debuts on July 5, 1997. Formed by Sarah McClachlan, the festival donated over $10M to charity over its run from 1997-99 and in 2010. (It also introduced me to the then Dixie Chicks on two nights — Milwaukee and Minneapolis — in 1999.)
McClachlan brought Lilith Fair to a close in 2011 citing changing musical tastes and changing demographics. I think she was premature.
Never was I so happy to see an album as I was this one. Dixie Chicks release their first album since the controversy that followed Natalie Maines’ comments on then-President George Bush in 2003.
Natalie and the band didn’t deserve the hate. And, country radio for the most part were perfect assholes.
So when The Chicks came back, they came back with a vengeance. They teamed with Rick Rubin to produce and with the help of some heavy-hitters like Sheryl Crow, Gary Louris, Mike Campbell and Neil Finn, the album wins 5 out of the 7 nominations for Grammy Awards.
Dixie Chicks appear naked on the front cover of Entertainment Weekly, with slogans such “Traitors,” “Hero,” “Boycott,” “Saddam’s Angels” and “Proud Americans” printed across their bodies. The slogans represent the mixed reaction Dixie Chicks received following singer Natalie Maines’ anti-George W. Bush comments.
The trio is flying high on the success of their album Home, which takes them on an international tour and during a London performance, Maines takes the opportunity to address the brimming post-9/11 “War on Terror” back home, 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 that the President of the United States is from Texas.”
And, so begins the Dixie Chicks backlash. Maines clarifies her statement on the band’s website, writing that she is against war, not against US troops. But with the Internet, many radio stations, and the President of the United States against them, the damage is done.
On the day of the Entertainment Weekly shoot, the group’s publicist tries to convince them to tone down their message, but they won’t budge. Every word on their body, including “Saddam’s Angels,” is an actual comment that was hurled at them online.
Dixie Chicks make a comeback in 2006 with Taking The Long Way, an album produced by Rick Rubin. The albums is a masterpiece and wins them a Grammy for Album of The Year. But Dixie Chicks did it without their original backers. Of the lack of support from the country music community. Martie Maguire says: “We don’t feel a part of the country scene any longer, it can’t be our home anymore.”
I don’t even know the Dixie Chicks, but I find it an insult for all the men and women who fought and died in past wars when almost the majority of America jumped down their throats for voicing an opinion. It was like a verbal witch-hunt and lynching.
Dixie Chicks take home an impressive five awards at the Grammys. Taking the Long Way wins Album of the Year and Best Country Album, while the single “Not Ready To Make Nice” is awarded Song of the Year, Record of the Year and Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.
January 27, 1998 ~ Dixie Chicks release their fourth album — their first with Natalie Maines as lead singer. Wide Open Spaces becomes their break-through album garnering multiple Grammy Awards including “Best Country Album.”