2.19.2007

Dixie Chicks don't look so stupid now, do they?

Some time ago, I wrote about the Dixie Chicks getting slammed for speaking their mind in opposition of the president and the handling of the war in Iraq, etc. At the time I said they were ahead of the curve on this issue.

With the current approval numbers for the current administration at historic lows, they don't seem all that unpatriotic now, do they?

And still there are stations (even here in Salt Lake) who won't play their music.

This article was published in the NY Times a week ago, after the Chicks swept their categories at the Grammy Awards ceremony. It's an interesting read.

Dear Nashville, and your neo-Christian, ultra-conservative, Republican hangers on - take your Southern president back. Please. You can have him. He's made our world an unsafe place - take him back and limit his damage to your little corner of the world. We don't want him.

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 12 — The Dixie Chicks’ big win at the Grammy Awards on Sunday exposed ideological tensions between the music industry’s Nashville establishment and the broader, more diverse membership of the Recording Academy, which chooses the Grammy winners, according to voters and music executives interviewed afterward.

To some, the voting served not only as a referendum on President Bush’s handling of the Iraq war, but also on what was perceived as country music’s rejection — and radio’s censorship — of the trio.

Jeff Ayeroff, a longtime music executive and an academy member, said the resounding endorsement of the group reflected the fact that the academy represents “the artist community, which was very angry at what radio did, because it was not very American.” Mr. Ayeroff said he voted for the Dixie Chicks in at least one category.

At the awards on Sunday, the band — Natalie Maines, Martie Maguire and Emily Robison — swept all five of the Grammy categories in which it was nominated, including the top three — album, record and song of the year — the first time all three have been swept in 14 years.

The awards amounted to vindication for the Dixie Chicks, who found their career sidetracked in 2003 after the singer Ms. Maines told a London concert audience shortly before the invasion of Iraq that the band was “ashamed” that the president hailed from their home state, Texas. In the furor that followed, country radio programmers pulled the multiplatinum-selling trio’s music from the airwaves and rallied listeners to destroy their CDs.

The storm flared anew last year when the Dixie Chicks released the album “Taking the Long Way,” which included the single “Not Ready to Make Nice,” a defiant and bitter response to the group’s treatment. And things got worse when band members said in interviews that they were not interested in being part of the commercial country music business; Ms. Maguire, who plays the fiddle, said the group would rather have fans “who get it” instead of “people that have us in their five-disc changer with Reba McEntire and Toby Keith.” Country stations once again all but ignored the Dixie Chicks’ music.

The sweep reflected something of a retort to the Country Music Association’s annual awards, held in November, when the Dixie Chicks were shut out. The vote by the Recording Academy, which is composed of performers, producers, engineers, executives and others across the country, evidently took a different view.

“I think it says that, by and large, the creative community sees what has happened to the Dixie Chicks as unfair and unjust,” said Mike Dungan, a longtime music executive who heads the C.M.A.’s board and is also the president and chief executive of the Capitol Nashville label. (Mr. Dungan said he was not speaking on behalf of the C.M.A.)

5 comments:

OneHungMan said...

Aren't they still being shit on by the redneck stations? OneHung heard they did well at the recent awards show, but thought the country folk were still pissed.

for what it's worth said...

I am glad that they did well. I could take or leave their music... ( it's better than scratching nails on a blackboard) but if you can't speak your mind about your own opinions in your fair country, then that's even scarier than Bush himself.

Reach Upward said...

So ... the Grammy's are about politics, rather than "outstanding achievements" in music quality? That kind of runs counter to what the NARAS has claimed for years it is about.

I'm no connoisseur of the country genre, so I can't say for myself how the Chicks' music ranks with others in that genre, but it seems from the news releases that Grammy voters favored the Chicks for political reasons.

I have not traditionally cared much about the policial opinions of an artist, but about whether I enjoy the music or not. I don't have to agree with someone politically to enjoy his/her music. But I do think a lot of performing artists (regardless of political stripe) could do themselves a favor by concentrating on performing rather than using the stage as a platform for political opinion.

Melliferous Pants said...

I'm not a major DC fan but I do think it's unfair to boycott them because they spoke their minds.

Anonymous said...

more than ever before.