It’s been well over a decade since The Dixie Chicks have released new music – and depending on what rumor you hear, the end to that unfortunate drought might very well be in sight. To prepare for that possibility, Country Now takes a look at the catalog from these talented ladies and ranks their four albums from worst to first (though the worst day from these ladies would definitely qualify as anyone else’s best!).
Enjoy this list, but keep in mind we narrowed our rankings to the lineup that broke through commercially in the late 90s. After all, the addition of Natalie Maines was that much of a game-changer that you wonder if there would have ever been hit records, arena tours, or a bevy of awards without her.
4. Wide Open Spaces
It was apparent very early that Sony/Monument was onto something good when they released the “debut” album from sisters Martie Erwin Maguire and Emily Erwin Robison and lead singer Natalie Maines in 1998. Yes, the ladies had the moxie and stage presence to match with Faith Hill and Shania Twain, but songs like “I Can Love You Better,” “There’s Your Trouble” and the emotionally intense “You Were Mine” proved this was something very special – and something very much steeped in traditional country music. Throw in the spellbinding title cut, and you’ve got a disc that still sparkles as much as it did upon its release some two decades earlier. And, make no mistake…..a fourth-place finish from a Dixie Chicks album would top ninety-nine percent of the records out there.
The following year, the Chicks returned to record store shelves with a disc that took everything they did on Wide Open Spaces and expanded it a notch further. The ballads – such as “Cold Day In July” and “Heartbreak Town” – were just as potent and dramatic as before, and the uptempo fare – with “Sin Wagon” and “Goodbye Earl” being two of the most prevalent – were as edge-cutting as anything else out there!
2. Taking The Long Way
By 2006, it had been three years since the infamous quotes from Maines that knocked the group off of country radio. Though the music from this album didn’t return them to the airwaves, tracks like the chilling “Not Ready To Make Nice” and the musically and lyrically inventive “Easy Silence,” this album showed that their musical integrity was as deep as ever. And, vocally, Maines delivered her A-Game on “I Hope” and “Bitter End.”
It took a lot of guts to release this Bluegrass-inspired set in the fall of 2002. “Long Time Gone” definitely wasn’t something that could be found coming out of the radio in a large fashion. Still, the pristine melodies and harmonies of tracks like “Travellin’ Soldier” and their cover of “Landslide” served notice that the Dixie Chicks were on their game as much as ever. The album ran the emotional gamut – from the raw emotion of Radney Foster’s brilliant “Godspeed (Sweet Dreams)” to the hilarious paean to lust, “White Trash Wedding.” This album was one for the ages – and still is!