Shut Up And Sing

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. 20060528dixie_chicks 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.

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4 responses to “Shut Up And Sing

  1. I’ll be the first to admit, I despise country music. However, why does everything associated with the entertainment industry have to be so damn political? If it hadn’t been for the Bush thing, the “chicks” would not have won the Grammys in the fashion they did – sweeping all the top honors they were eligible for. It’s a rare feat for even the best musicians in the history of the Grammys to pull off, and *they* got it? Go ahead and check it out – winning all of the top awards almost never happens. I’m especially amused by the fact that they won the country award when they no longer consider themselves country artists any more.

    When the industry awards you with accolades they haven’t given to the likes of a Streisand, Wonder, Lennon or Dylan – it’s a joke. The point here is the liberal crowd who rule the entertainment industry threw them a bone not based so much on artistic excellence as they did for anti establishment rants.

    Before you know it, they’ll be giving Oscars to washed up political hacks who espouse “do as I say not as I do ideals”… oh wait.

  2. Point well taken, however a quick google search reveals: 5 grammies for Lauryn Hill in 1999; 8 grammies for Norah Jones in 2003 and 5 for U2 in 2006.

    Were the Chicks awarded their 5 statues by a liberal entertainment industry making a liberal, political statement? Maybe so. But who thrust them, a non-political, tongue in cheek band into the political spotlight in the first place? The conservative, country music industry. So it goes both ways.

  3. The Dixie Chicks created their own problems. They decided to jump into the political arena, and unlike Greenday, Bruce Sprinsgteen, Ben Afleck and George Clooney who have taken their lumps for their political stance (and might I add whose audiences aren’t predominantly conservative), instead decided (on the cover of Rolling Stone) to say FU to their fans.

    They then apologized when their fans then said FU back, but then decided to take the apology back (thereby saying FU again to their fans). They then decided to make fun of their fans in their music and interviews and are don’t understand why they have to cancel tour stops and the only people listening and buying their music do so out of spite for country music and conservatives in general.

    I think most people see Maines for what she is; a spoiled little snot who thinks freedom only works for her and no one else. But thats how elitist liberalism works; I’m right and you’re wrong, end of discussion. The chicks became poster girls for liberals everywhere, the grammy’s were simply a recognition of that fact. It certainly wasn’t based on album sales, concert ticket sales, or chart setting singles.

    My distate for the chicks is not political. If it were, I wouldn’t listen to Greenday, Disturbed or Dave Matthews.

  4. You’re right, the awards are based on votes by The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences not ticket or album sales. Per Wikipedia, “The National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, known variously as The Recording Academy or NARAS [was] established in 1957. The Recording Academy is a U.S. organization of musicians, producers, recording engineers and other recording professionals…”, These people vote on the winners, just like the Oscars are given per the votes of the academy not box office figures.

    You may be right, the votes may have been based on politics (I say “may” because I forgot to take my mind reading pills today). No one, not even the Chicks themselves are denying that their win was politically motivated.

    But I disagree that making a flip remark during a concert in England 10 days before we invaded Iraq, equates to jumping into the political arena. Who wasn’t making political remarks and comments 10 days before we invaded Iraq? We’re talking about a group that sang songs like Earl Must Die and Sin Wagon suddenly being hated for a sentence that was uttered on stage.

    If their core audience which I assume (again, remember no mind reading pills today) were right-wing, conservatives using their freedoms of speech to derail their career – then the liberals have the same right to vote them as many grammy awards as they want.

    You said “But that’s how elitist liberalism works; I’m right and you’re worng, end of discussion.” You don’t see that elitist conservatives did the same thing to them back in 2003? We’re right – you’re wrong therefore we’re banning you, case closed?

    The point of my post was that the controversy sent them into a different direction. Forced them to be songwriters not just musicians/singers and although they lost (and probably will never regain) a large chunk of their core audience, they still triumphed on some level. They overcame diversity. They thought outside their own box and I respect them for that. In fact, I respect anyone, regardless of their politics that can do that.

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