The Dixie Chicks
Taking The Long Way
Since the release of their last album, 2002's Home, the Dixie Chicks have been ridiculed, scorned, banned from country radio and called out onto the carpet a gazillion times because singer Natalie Maines had the audacity to speak her opinion about our President in public. Well, get ready for a new, grown up Dixie Chicks. The precocious young darlings who could do no wrong scattered back to their nest after all the insanity, and now emerge with a totally classy, outspoken record that may be their best yet.
Produced by Rick Rubin (Johnny Cash, Red Hot Chili Peppers), who says that he saw the Chicks as "a great rock act making a country album, not a country act making a rock album," their new project is quite impressive, and while it is layered with sonic beauty, it also paints a clear picture of three young women shaken up by the personal and political events of the recent past.
The single, "Not Ready to Make Nice," proves they are still upset over the backlash from their 2003 Bushwhacking, but on "The Long Way Around," they assert that they could never "kiss all the asses that they told me to" and just blindly follow the leader in dead silence. The album features beautiful songs about motherhood and family, like "Easy Silence," "Lullaby," and "Baby Hold On." The subject matter on Taking The Long Way is quite obviously more mature, with songs that touch on the personal issues of infertility and Alzheimer's which are both issues relevant to the Chicksand their families.
The 14 tracks include writing help from folks like writers Sheryl Crow, Gary Louris, Mike Campbell, and Keb' Mo', and the R&B/gospel offering "I Hope" proves the Chicks still hold on tight to their spirituality, the same way they hold onto and refuse to deny their political beliefs.
-Michael Buffalo Smith