Natalie Maines, the interview and her album

Natalie Maines' initial solo release is a fined collection of covers that frees the former Dixie Chicks vocalist from the Nashville straightjacket.

Natalie Maines’ initial solo release is a fined collection of covers that frees the former Dixie Chicks vocalist from the Nashville straightjacket.

I am not a country music fan, nor am I particularly attracted to the music of the Dixie Chicks.  But it took guts to call out George W. Bush for pushing the country into war in Iraq in 2003.  They paid a price.  The received death threats, they were blacklisted from country music radio (not that I think that’s a bad thing,) and the arc of their careers were shortened.  Their reply to the haters “Ain’t Ready to Make Nice” was emotional and brilliant, and helped garner the Chicks a Grammy in 2007.

Natalie Maines was and is the lead singer for the Chicks and she’s given a ferocious interview in the June 6th edition of Rolling Stone.  Being one of those paper and ink people, I subscribe to the print edition and it isn’t on the web yet, but be sure to read it when it becomes available. Maines is scathing in her criticism of those that threatened the band, is critical of the limiting dumbness of what sells in Nashville, and how she’s living her life as a mom far from her West Texas roots in Brentwood.  Maines is enjoying the anonymity of her exclusive Southern California neighborhood.

She’s also undertaken a solo career.  Maines recorded an album of mostly covers in Ben Harper’s studio.  She has a beautiful, powerful voice that allows her to take on almost anything she wants.  Maines takes on Eddie Vedder’s “Without You,” and “Mother” from Pink Floyd’s The Wall and does them both justice.  Patti Griffin’s “Silver Bell” is a rocker and while Maines has the voice, she could use a bit more of the spitfire on this tune.

If Maines never returns to her Chicks gig, she has a place as a solo artist.  Check out her album, “Mother,” on Spotify and see what you think.

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