The Chicks: ‘We were used and abused by everybody who wanted to make money off us’

The Chicks: ‘We were used and abused by everybody who wanted to make money off us’July 18, 2020

The Dixie Chicks were cancelled in 2003 for criticising George W Bush’s Iraq war. Three divorces and one name change later, they’re back

When the Dixie Chicks signed to Sony in 1995, the label worried that their name was politically incorrect. At the time, the bosses were more concerned about “Chicks” than “Dixie”, a shorthand for the former Confederate states, although they warned the Texan trio that listeners in the northern states might be put off. But Natalie Maines and sisters Emily Strayer and Martie Maguire stood their ground and went on to become one of the biggest country acts of all time.

The Dixie Chicks brought traditional instrumentation back to a genre that had been growing overly slick. They used their country bona fides not in the service of misogynistic murder ballads but, rather, cheeky proto-feminist classics. Almost everything they did riled purists and pearl-clutchers, but that did not stop their first album for Sony, 1998’s Wide Open Spaces, selling more copies that year than every other country act combined.

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