Dixie Chicks: The Controversy Country Music Won’t Let Die

The Dixie Chicks “Thing” Happened Years Ago, Can We Let It Go Now?

Recently, I found an article from Country Weekly that surprised me. It was a short article about some comments Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks made on her twitter account during the 2012 Grammy Awards. Apparently, she made an off-hand comment about Jason Aldean being out of tune during his performance of “Don’t You Wanna Stay” with Kelly Clarkson. The title of this article was, “Natalie Maines’ Own Fans Don’t Like Her Jason Aldean Dig,” and the opening statement of the article was this:

The Dixie Chicks’ Natalie Maines is no stranger to saying controversial things. Remember a certain overseas criticism of then-President Bush that effectively destroyed the Chicks’ country career?

First of all, saying that someone is out of tune during a performance is not controversial in the least (Or it really shouldn’t be, and if it is somehow, we might be in trouble as an industry). To me, Maines’ comments just show observational skills. I love both Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson, but their 2012 Grammy performance was not their best. I’ve seen them perform this before, and they totally rocked it. So maybe they just had an off night, or the sound crew wasn’t handling the levels well. Who knows? Regardless, Maines wasn’t necessarily wrong, and she definitely wasn’t being “mean”.

Here is my big issue though: are we seriously still talking about that? Almost ten years later, really is this the first thing we have to say about Natalie Maines? This is why we write an article about her? Really?

Just a quick refresher, the Dixie Chicks have earned CMA Awards as Entertainer of the Year (2001), for Vocal Group of the Year (1998, 1999, 2000, 2002), for Song of the Year (1999), for Album of the Year (2000), for Video of the Year (1998, 1999), and for the Horizon Award (1998). They have also earned multiple Grammy Awards, hold the distinction of being the top selling female group of any genre, and have 6 #1 country music singles (those were within a 5 year period). Not to mention, these 3 extraordinarily talented and hard-working women gave country fans some really amazing music that will stand the test of time. That is their legacy.

It is alarming to me that it is okay to disregard an opinion or vilify someone because they say something negative about something you like. Sometimes people can do this in a non-constructive way, I’ll give you that. Still though, everyone is entitled to their negative opinions just as much as others are to their positive ones. We run the danger of losing our critical thinking skills when we only listen to the “good stuff” people say; the things that let us stay safely inside our comfort zones.

Let me be clear, Jason Aldean is a great performer, and being out of tune during one performance in no way discounts that. At the end of the day, I really don’t think that Natalie Maines was making that kind of suggestion. She was simply making an observation.

So, the issue still remains: can country stars (or anyone really) not share a critical opinion? Do we really want to discount someone’s opinion because its not right in line with ours?

Here is a link to the article that sparked my musings. Here is a link to a recording of Aldean and Clarkson’s performance. Let us know what you think.

About MissMolly

Miss Molly comes to us by way of Memphis, TN, but was born deep in the heart of Texas. Always the organized and efficient one, she's a taskmaster and film extraordinaire who still finds time to write on the side.

4 Replies to “Dixie Chicks: The Controversy Country Music Won’t Let Die”

  1. Unfortunately it seems that many country music fans are extremely close-minded about artists who do anything more than sing pop-country hits. Heaven forbid they have a mind or opinion of their own, or show any imperfection in their personal life. Country fans hold grudges better than my grumpy in-laws!

  2. it's cuz country folks looooove 'Murrica, no matter how arrogant, greedy, misguided or full of sh*t it may be. aww shoot that Jersey Shore show is on again! peace!

  3. I really liked this article quite a lot. It's always 20/20 hindsight, and the presidency of George W. Bush had a HUGE effect on popular music at the time. I think the situation was very poorly handled by Natalie Maines, but then modern country is not punk rock. Johnny Rotten may have taken a knife blade in his flesh for saying it, but he never apologized for, took back, or expressed publicly any regret for saying "God Save the Queen." I still remember Johnny Ramone saying "God Bless President Bush" at an awards show too. That was also very punk rock too.