Monday, June 12, 2006

Hix Nix Chix

Now that the summer concert series is upon us, the Dixie Chicks will be filling an empty newshole near you!

It seems to be the custom to ask -- as the lead story in the afternoon paper here asked today, "Will fans forgive Chicks?"

Which is pointless, since the Chicks are unrepentant and pointedly not asking for forgiveness.

I hope that will be noted. Right now, the feud between the Dixie Chicks and the country music community has far less to do with American opinions about George W. Bush and the war, and far more to do with the Chick's deliberate and disrespectful disowning of their former fan base.

Which is why you don't read these kind of articles about Willie Nelson, who also has spoken out against the war in strong terms.

I hope we'll be spared the kind of bad reporting that marred the AP's coverage of the County Music Awards

Reba McEntire, hosting the show for an eighth time, also took a shot at country music's newest outlaws, the Dixie Chicks.

"I don't know why I was so nervous about hosting this show this year," she said. "If the Dixie Chicks can sing with their foot in their mouths, surely I can host this sucker."

The Chicks, criticized in country circles when Natalie Maines told an audience in 2003, "Just so you know, we're ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas," are striking back at their critics in their new single, "Not Ready to Make Nice."

That, believe it or not, ran on May 24. Which was the week the entire country music community was abuzz with that week's issue of "Time," in which Chicks member Martie Maguire said:

"I'd rather have a small following of really cool people who get it, who will grow with us as we grow and are fans for life, than people that have us in their five-disc changer with Reba McEntire and Toby Keith. We don't want those kinds of fans. They limit what you can do."

So, uh, was it just possible that Reba was responding to the kick in her direction, not to the political statement about George W. Bush? I'd say so. But you'd never know it from reading Tom Gardner's story about the awards ceremony (which we ran). He either didn't know about the feud with Reba (in which case, why is he covering country music?) or he chose to ignore it and suggest this was about nothing more than a brave girl band fighting back against the crushing of dissent.