Update: Here’s a clip of their appearance on Letterman the other night:
The Dixie Chicks are back and they’re still earning my respect and admiration with this cover story in Time Magazine (excerpted on CNN.com):
Now that she’s truly notorious, having told a London audience in 2003, on the eve of the Iraq war, “Just so you know, we’re ashamed the President of the United States is from Texas,” Maines has one regret: the apology she offered George W. Bush at the onset of her infamy. “I apologized for disrespecting the office of the president,” says Maines. “But I don’t feel that way anymore. I don’t feel he is owed any respect whatsoever.”
A sizable chunk of their once adoring audience feels the same way about the Dixie Chicks. After Maines’ pronouncement, which was vigorously seconded by bandmates Martie Maguire and Emily Robison, the group received death threats and was banned by thousands of country radio stations, many of which still have informal bans in place.
Programmers say that even now a heartfelt apology could help set things right with listeners, but it’s not happening. “If people are going to ask me to apologize based on who I am,” says Maines, “I don’t know what to do about that. I can’t change who I am.”
As proof, the first single from the Dixie Chicks’ new album, “Taking the Long Way” (out May 23), is called “Not Ready to Make Nice.” It is, as one country radio programmer says, “a four-minute f—- you to the format and our listeners. I like the Chicks, and I won’t play it.”
“I guess if we really cared, we wouldn’t have released that single first,” says Maguire. “That was just making people mad. But I don’t think it was a mistake.”
Whether the Dixie Chicks recover their sales luster or not, the choice of single has turned their album release into a referendum. “Taking the Long Way” is designed to thumb its nose at country’s intolerance for ideological hell raising, and buying it or cursing it reveals something about you and your politics—or at least your ability to put a grudge above your listening pleasure.
And however you vote, it’s tough to deny that by gambling their careers, three Texas women have the biggest balls in American music.
I’m not a fan of country music in general, though there have been a few exceptions over the years (I have a shameful appreciation for the warbling of John Denver), but I think I’m going to have to see if I can’t pick up a copy of this CD if for no other reason than to show my support. Who knows? Maybe I’ll even like the music on it. Either way I love the attitude of the women who made it so I gotta do my part to keep them around.
Link via Blogesque.