They say time heals all wounds. In the case of the Dixie Chicks, “they” are wrong.
Tonight (Aug. 17), the trio is returning to Music City and playing a sold-out show at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena. In fact, the majority of the shows on the Chicks’ 55-city DCX MMXVI World Tour have been or will be sellouts. Still, haters gonna hate, including old men at the YMCA, but we’ll get to that in a minute.
More than 13 years ago on a London stage, Chicks frontwoman Natalie Maines declared “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.” With the United States preparing to invade Iraq, Natalie directed her ire toward then-President George W. Bush before singing the new single “Travelin’ Soldier.”
Less than a week later, Texas declared war on the Chicks. The United States followed, and unleashed their T-bomb: Toby Keith. Cue the radio boycotts and bon fires fueled by the toxic jewel cases of Wide Open Spaces and Fly. Concert tickets to the Chicks’ shows suffered and album sales declined. Uncle Sam put a boot in their ass, it’s the American way.
Now that 13 years have passed, surely Americans are willing to forgive their Dixie Chicks beef. Not so fast, and don’t call me Shirley.
In a recent 2016 Nash Country Daily poll, readers were asked to “Forgive,” “Forget” or “Fully Agree” with Natalie’s statement: 56 percent of readers said to “Forget” them, while 23 percent said “Forgive” and 21 percent said “Fully Agree.”
I get banned for not liking Bush and now Trump can practically put a hit out on Hillary and he’s still all over country radio! Hypocrites!
— Natalie Maines (@1NatalieMaines) August 11, 2016
Even more interesting to me, this morning I was in the locker room at the YMCA and an old-timer—naked, of course, because old men love to sit around naked and talk—picked up a copy of our hometown newspaper, The Tennessean, which featured the headline “The Dixie Chicks: The Long Road Back From Exile.” The old-timer immediately dropped the paper and said “The Dixie Chicks—this is why I don’t subscribe to the Tennessean anymore.”
Is our poll—plus the naked old-timer’s view—a microcosm of America’s still-embittered feelings toward the Dixie Chicks? Perhaps, but more research still needs to be conducted and more clothes involved.
Conversely, the Chicks are selling out the majority of their shows and a lot of people in the industry on Music Row are excited to attend tonight.
The Chicks can take solace in the fact that they have stayed true to who they are—like ’em or not. I say, on with the show.