Dixie Chicks
Chicks Rule!

"We're not mad as hell anymore. Maybe mad as crap. "--Natalie Maines.

"The thing I like about our fans is that they are smart, they are good-looking and we can agree to disagree." -Martie MacGuire

"Our true fans won't go anywhere." -Martie MacGuire

"Our fans are here, and they're cheering us louder than ever, they're saying "We're still with you."-Emily Robison

Anyone who really "knows" me--I mean knows my heart, knows that I am the world's biggest Dixie Chicks fan. I am a bigger fan than their own parents, if that's possible! I want to be Natalie Maines when I grow up (of course, I'm older than she is, but I'm still working on growing up).
In the past couple of years, the Chicks have been the center of quite a bit of controversy, however, as a true fan, I will support them always! One great thing about being an American is the freedom of speech. The biggest thing about the Chicks that has always made them appealing to me is their ability to say whatever they want and not to care what others think. I wish I could be that way! I don't always agree with them, but I still love them! That's what makes this country so great!
I will never miss a concert when they come to my area. This last one cost me a pretty penny (Ebay, of course, because tickets were sold out) and a long drive for seats near the ceiling of the venue, however, I was there, singing, dancing and enjoying my girls! If any of them decides they want a registered pygmy goat, I hope they come to me!
I hope that my support of these awesome ladies doesn't taint the way you feel about me, however, I must say, I will still support them, even if it does.
You go, Girls!! --Love Robin

Jimmy Patterson is editor of MyWestTexas.com. You can e-mail him at Jimmy@mywesttexas.com
"It's okay for us to disagree/We can work it out lovingly"
-- The Dixie Chicks, "I Hope"

OK, the Chicks' sentiment from "I Hope" may be a little (or a lot of) wishful thinking where they're concerned especially, but I still say Go Chicks Go. And that's something you don't hear or read everyday, huh?
These parts are decidedly against the once-famous and formerly immensely talented Dixie Chicks. Now they can do nothing right. Chances of them ever coming to Midland-Odessa in our lifetimes are pretty well non-existent. Oh, they could come, but playing to an empty Horseshoe would not make for a career highlight.
I like the Dixie Chicks. I think they are hugely talented. I think we should hear their music, which is apparently why we have stores and opportunities to download music in this fresh new century. We are not likely to hear them on the radio anytime soon. Phone calls against them are too plentiful, which, to me, is sad.
I don't necessarily agree with what Natalie Maines said, when she said it, where she said it or whether she should have said it. But that she said it shows that she believes in the right she has to say it. And that's really all that should be mattering here.
To suggest the Dixie Chicks were un-American for having said it is hypocritical. If you haven't been keeping up with the whole controversy, about three years ago, Chicks' lead singer Natalie Maines let loose on a London stage and proclaimed she was ashamed of being from the same state as President Bush. It went over like public dissent in China, and people around here and elsewhere, too, raised a pretty good snit for awhile. Then the Chicks disappeared. And now they're back, about to release their fifth album (May 23). And so people are huffin' and puffin' again. Play 'em, Darn well better not play 'em. On and on and on.
People have called her a traitor, threatened her, burned chicks' CDs and guess what? The Chicks are still there. The mere fact that Maines said she was ashamed to be from the same state as George W., ironically enough, makes her American (even though it doesn't make her a very good Texan apparently, I'm thinkin').
Decrying their shame to be from Texas because of Bush doesn't really make the Chicks visionaries of their own future success, and their timing was pretty horrendous. But they didn't curse the president. They didn't threaten him or call for his impeachment. They expressed outrage at his policies. Now, the threats, the cursing is all being heaped back upon the Chicks a thousand-fold.
Certainly Natalie Maines had no professional motivation for saying what she said. And in these days of entertainers busily plotting courses for their own self-fulfillment and personal gain and nothing else, it was refreshing in an uncomfortable way to hear someone speak honestly about what they believe in. Even if we didn't and still don't agree with it. It made us all squirm and smirk and wonder out loud how she could have been so (fill in the blank) to utter such vitriol on a foreign stage of all places! I've really never understood the anger because of where she said what she said. It could have been anywhere in today's wired culture. It really doesn't matter.
"Not Ready to Make Nice," the Chicks first single from the new CD, has nothing to do with the president's policies. The words "shame" or "ashamed" are not uttered. The song is instead about the public outcry that resulted from Maines' statements. It is the rebuttal phase of the trial. All that's left is the jury's decision, which will come at the cash registers.
I find it interesting that "Not Ready to Make Nice" was not the first post-'I'm ashamed' single released by the group. That honor goes to "I Hope," a bluesy light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel song that tells listeners to keep their chin up in the midst of dire circumstances. I'm certain there are plenty of hawks who found it an anti-war rant against Bush; the song's opening lyrics could be construed as such, but the song's main point is simply that our civilization should have more hope:
I hope
For more love, more joy and laughter
I hope
You'll have more than you'll ever need
I hope
There'll be more happy ever after
I hope
We can all live more fearlessly
And we can lose all our pain and misery
Instead of the relative optimism heard in "I Hope," we get "Not Ready to Make Nice," and now we're all upset with them again for being too honest. And if nothing else, "Make Nice" is one of the most honest songs you'll hear these days. (But again you'll have to download it from iTunes or your site of choice, because you're not likely to hear it on the radio.)

A sample of the lyrics shows just how outrageous and even irrational the public became after Maines' statement about Bush:
"It's a sad sad story when a mother will teach her
Daughter that she ought to hate a perfect stranger
And how in the world can the words that I said
Send somebody so over the edge
That they'd write me a letter
Sayin' that I better shut up and sing
Or my life will be over."

In a poll MyWestTexas ran last month, 62 percent of respondents weren't ready to make nice with the Chicks -- and that was before most radio listeners knew the content of the new song. Yet, of the now over 20 comments posted about the Chicks' flap written about by KICKS' Mike & Dana at MyWestTexasblogs.com -- comments which have come from as far away as Austin, Mexico, Georgia and Mississippi -- well more than half were in favor of letting bygones be bygones, including this one, from CC in Bandera:
"Congrats folks, by refusing to play the Dixie Chicks because of their (now widely held) political views you've proven that narrow-minded idealogues DO run today's media. I learned in school that black listing artists for speaking their minds or for having an unpopular view was a tactic during the McCarthy years. Have we really backslid so far as a nation, that not only our civil liberties are under constant attack, but our ability to even speak our minds is under scrutiny? When an artist can no longer have a dissenting opinion without the corporate media outlets and radio stations refusing to play their music, then we've become a nation that is no longer worthy of being called "the greatest country in the world." It's truly a shame that such moral cowardice is now the norm these days. This is the same moral cowardice that allowed Joseph McCarthy to become such a feared and powerful figure during a dark time in our country's history. Maybe history doesn't teach us anything, or maybe we just don't listen."
The Dixie Chicks have always been outspoken. In "Goodbye Earl" they addressed not only spousal abuse, but putting an end to spousal abuse through spousal murder and spousal body burying with a little help from friends. "Sin Wagon" went a little over the top on casual living, shall we say ... Simply, the Chicks' have made a career out of speaking their minds. Were they to react any differently to this public outrage would be uncharacteristic, disappointing -- and proof that they are selling out. Instead they stand up for their beliefs as Americans over the bottom line of Nashville. And there has to be some good in that, even if you don't agree with what they say or how they say it.

These photos were taken at a concert in Oakland, CA in July of 2003.