We all know that I love the Dixie Chicks. I know you know, but I'm gonna talk about them again. In light of the 5 Grammy Awards they won tonight.
I was a Chicks fan long before the political uproar surrounding Natalie Maines' comments about the president three years ago, but unlike many in the south, my admiration for her only increased after her comments.
Putting the incident aside for a moment, I can tell you that I'm one of those fans who loves the Chicks fanatically. Not in the way that I buy crap with their logo on it or collect photos from magazines. Quite simply I've grown up with their music as a part of my life. I probably love the Chicks in much the same way that people love The Beatles or The Rolling Stones--with an affection that began in high school and that has endured into adulthood. Compounded with the fact that the Chicks began their career in Dallas playing on West End street corners (and ironically at the George Dubya Bush Governor's Ball) and likely intruding on Deep Ellum in its hipper days, I'm an outspoken Texas girl. My mouth has gotten me in trouble more times than I could possibly count.
Join me for a trip down memory lane if you will.
1998 - The Chicks first album, Wide Open Spaces, came out before my senior year of high school. A friend and I quickly adopted it as our anthem.
Who doesn't know what I'm talking about
Who's never left home who's never struck out
To find a dream and a life of their own
A place in the clouds a foundation of stone
--"Wide Open Spaces"
1999 - The second album, Fly, came out my very first semester of college. I found a group of friends more warped and fun than any I'd ever imagined to that point, was beginning to see the world in a very new way, and went a little crazy. Incidentally, I first saw them in concert around this time.
He pushed me 'round now I'm drawin' the line
He lived his life now I'm gonna go live mine
I'm sick on wastin' my time
Well now I've been good for way too long
Found my red dress and I'm gonna throw it on
'Bout to get too far gone
2002 - I made the decision to transfer universities and I was on the downward slide toward graduation. I actually remember going to buy the CD on my way to class one day and I procrastinated to the point of almost skipping a class so I could flip through the CD in my car. A very different, earthy sound, bluegrass sound...this album remains one of my very favorites. Controversy struck for them around that time when they sued Sony for a better contract. They were without a label while making this album and when they finally won the lawsuit. I saw them for the 2nd time in concert that year.
You don't like the sound of the truth
Coming from my mouth
You say that I lack the proof
Well baby that might be so
I might get to the end of my life
Find out everyone was lying
I don't think that I'm afraid anymore
Say that I would rather die trying
--"Truth No. 2"
2003 - My grandparents both passed away, I graduated, and I quickly left for North Carolina. It was a very tumultuous time. The live album came out around that time, and sports one of the best covers I've ever heard: "Mississippi" (Bob Dylan cover). It's strangely tragic and upbeat. Perfect for me right around that time.
Well I got here, following the southern star
I crossed that river just to be where you are
There's only one thing that I did wrong
I stayed in Mississippi a day too long
2006 - Post-drama Taking the Long Way came out last year to rave reviews from critics and a chilly reception from country fans. A complex album, well written, moving, it's taken me through a range of emotions that's sort of staggering to think about. In the last couple of years I've been positively thrilled to be single, utterly confused about where my life is going, and increasingly politically minded and driven to affect some sort of positive change in the world. I have no idea what to do with myself next, but I know I'll be fine and things will work out, and I'll have some sort of worthwhile growing experience. It's just hard to be patient and let it happen.
Well I fought with a stranger and I met myself
I opened my mouth and I heard myself
It can get pretty lonely when you show yourself
Guess I could have made it easier on myself
I could never follow
I could never follow
--"Taking the Long Way Around"
While I've heard whisperings that the Chicks will announce their breakup post-Grammy, I hope it isn't true. However, if it is, I'm glad to know that they're going out with a bang, I hope they feel vindicated, and I've enjoyed the soundtrack they've provided me these last nine years. I'll be first in line to buy Shut Up and Sing, their documentary about the years after "the incident" (comes out February 20th), and I'll keep their newest song in mind....
Don't let them tell you what it's all about
I'm right beside you
A dreamer you can do without
I know you well but we've never met
Always the same always always a safe bet
I know what's happenin'I've seen it before
Uninvited I'll be coming to your back door
Lock all the windows hide under your bed
I hear you breathin' I know you're there
You can turn off the light
You can turn it around
You can shut me out
But I'll still be here
I'll still be here
You can turn me off and try to shut me down
But I'll still be here
And I suppose the question remains, dear readers....
Which musical artists do you passionately love? Who has provided the soundtrack that eerily narrates your life?