Dixie Chicks

Nashville style with Texas timbre, the Dixie Chicks are a hip, flip mix of rock, country and bluegrass whose fans would willingly walk barefoot over hot coals for tickets to one of their concerts. Martie and Emily Erwin, Texas sisters of serious string talent and sweet-harmony voices, formed bluegrass band Blue Night Express as teenagers in the mid-'80s; changed the name to Dixie Chicks, from the 1973 Little Feat number "Dixie Chicken," by the end of the decade; and progressed from a quartet playing sidewalk gigs in the Dallas business district to opening for Garth Brooks, appearing at the Grande Ole Opry and playing at president Clinton's inaugural ball by 1993. For various reasons and one after the other, the two original vocalists departed, and Natalie Maines, of the luscious voice, joined the band in 1995. Now and forever a trio, the Chicks released Wide Open Spaces to headline reviews in 1998. Fly, in 1999, cemented their stardom and life has been a string of Grammys, Country Music Association awards, television concert specials and magazine profiles ever since. From hopeful to had-it, or from 'I Can Love You Better' to 'Goodby Earl,' and beyond, the Chicks are song and spirit that touches a nerve and commands attention. Even Natalie's exercise in free speech at a 2002 Chicks concert in Great Britain turned out to be a mere pebble in the band's road to rock immortality.

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