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The Dixie Chicks

Country Musician / Country Singer

Born: 1989
Birthplace: Dallas, Texas
Best known as: Singers of "Goodbye Earl" and "Not Ready to Make Nice"

The Dixie Chicks are the distaff Texas trio whose 1998 album Wide Open Spaces made them one of the top acts in country music. The group was founded as a quartet in Dallas, Texas in 1989, with the Erwin sisters, Emily and Martie, joining Laura Lynch and Robin Macy. By 1995 Macy had quit and Lynch had been replaced, and The Dixie Chicks were a trio: fiddler Martie (Erwin) Maguire (b. 12 October 1969, York, Pennsylvania), banjo picker Emily (Erwin) Robison (b. 16 August 1972, Pittsfield, Massachusetts) and singer Natalie Maines (b. 14 October 1974, Lubbock, Texas). They made a name for themselves performing on street corners and in small venues in Dallas, releasing their own recordings and selling them locally. Their big-label debut in 1998 included the hit songs "Wide Open Spaces" and "There's Your Trouble," and the Chicks became stars. Their second album, Fly (1999), featured the darkly humorous single "Goodbye Earl" and set them off on a successful national tour. They continued their success with Home (2002, including the singles "Landslide" and "Travelin' Soldier") and became the top touring act in country music in 2003.

The Dixie Chicks are also famous for their opposition to U.S. President George W. Bush's decision to invade Iraq in 2003. While on tour in London, England in March of that year, singer Maines told an audience, "Just so you know, we're ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas." The comment irked Bush supporters in the U.S., many of whom formed the trio's traditional fan base. It also sparked a temporary feud with Toby Keith, whose hit song "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American)" offered a different political viewpoint. Anti-Chicks sentiment drew plenty of media attention, but the Dixie Chicks released Taking the Long Way in 2006 and proved their careers hadn't suffered much. The album was a top-seller and earned the Chicks five Grammy awards, including the awards for best record, best album and best song ("Not Ready to Play Nice").

Extra credit: The political controversy stirred by their 2003 comments was covered in a 2006 documentary, Shut Up & Sing... Singer Maines is married to actor Adrian Pasdar, one of the stars of the television series Heroes (he played Nathan, the flying congressional candidate)... Emily and Martie released an album in 2010 as a duet, Court Yard Hounds.

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