I finally watched Shut Up And Sing this weekend, the documentary about the Dixie Chicks fall from grace. I guess it was just serendipitous that they had cameras around at the time of the remark. Perhaps they were filming to create a live touring DVD for their fans only to end up having great footage to create a documentary about their ordeal instead?
Truth be told, I wasn’t a big Dixie Chicks fan prior to 2003. I would buy a CD because of their popular songs, but not get into it enough to learn the other tunes on the disk. Because I never set my radio dial to country music stations, I couldn’t tell you much about their music. However, once the Bush comment was made in 2003 it seemed like everyone, country music fan or not, knew about the Chicks.
Personally, I was appalled at how they were treated and fairly frightened that I lived in a country where people suddenly wont let you speak or think running over a CD with a bulldozer is going to make a big impact in the world. Considering the women bashing and homophobia in some rap music and the fact that there are actual neo-natzi musical groups out there, I thought the country music industry had lost their mind. Frankly if you’re going to wear a flag as a fashion statement (ugh) while praising Jesus you sure as shit shouldn’t refer to a them as Dixis Sluts and question their constitutional right to free speech.
So when the Chicks released their next album in 2006, I, on purpose, went out to specifically buy it. I didn’t stumble on it during a trip to Borders. I didn’t happen to see it in a store and think, what the hell, I’ll give it a listen. I didn’t hear the first single, like it and want to hear more. I simply wanted to put my money where my mouth was and support a group that had been shafted by their fan base simply for giving their opinion.
Turns out that I loved the CD. It’s become one of those albums you buy and listen to again and again even after the novelty has worn off. I’m now an official fan.
I’m glad they won five Grammies. I’m glad they’re rebuilding their fan base. I’m glad that Country Music hasn’t embraced them again because frankly, that industry should stick to their guns if they really don’t like performers or artists to think outside of the core audience’s box. Besides, the Dixie Chicks will be just fine as a pop band or a southern-rock trio or whatever they morph into next.
Looks like in everyone’s quest to sensor these gals; they gave the band the greatest gift of all, freedom. The freedom to design their future in anyway they see fit, free of any labels or expectations. It’ll be interesting to see what they continue to do with that.