The Dixie Chicks were among the most unexpected, unlikely and unforgettable heroes of the bloody GWB/Iraq years. Their documentary movie of that ordeal, “Shut Up & Sing” (this clip can help you see why it’s worth the $3.99 to stream it) still makes me cry; I showed it to my tween-age granddaughter then, so she could see these icons and role models, whether she sings or not.
The granddaughter is a mom now, with daughters of her own, and all of a sudden this is one of her times to remember that history.
If you’re new to the background, The Chicks had a gig in London in March 2003, a few days prior the U.S. invasion of Iraq. At one point, lead singer Natalie Maines said, as an aside to an enthusiastic crowd, “We don’t want this war, this violence, and we’re ashamed that the President of the United States (George W. Bush) is from Texas.”
The British crowd cheered. But the militantly pro-war pillars of the U.S. country music industry reacted with rage, boycotts, cancellations, and Maines even got death threats.
Their record-breaking career suddenly seemed over; but in fact it wasn’t. They rose to their unplanned occasion and by 2006, the bravado of the warhawks over Iraq was showing its underlying rot, and the Chicks were winning everything in sight with their comeback, “Not Ready to Make Nice”.
In the end, they out-sassed, outclassed and went on to totally outlast the b*stards.
Now the Chicks are BACK, just in the nick of time, with a smash new song, their first in 14 years, “Gaslighter (Denier)” which is an instant classic, “Help-Us-Get-Through-Isolation” & Be-Movin’-On-From-MAGA-Madness & Misogyny Melody:
Doing anything to get your ass farther . . .
Gaslighter, Big timer–
Repeating all of the mistakes of your father
Gaslighter, Big Liar . . .
And you know you lie the best when you lie to you . . .
There are layers here. At the most superficial, it’s about partners who cheat and lie continuously. But in the video, there is a flashing cavalcade of authoritarian, even fascist imagery, with parallels in the lyrics that call out “Big Liar, lie lie lie lie lie –“ from which a deeper, more public dimension practically shouts.