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Q&A: Whatever happened to the Dixie Chicks?

Dixie Chicks' disappearing act

I haven't seen or heard much about the Dixie Chicks for a long time. Whatever happened to them?

The Dixie Chicks, a three-woman country music group that has successfully crossed over into other genres, haven't released an album since 2006 but still sing together occasionally.

In late June they joined Willie Nelson, Lee Ann Womack and Eric Church in Connecticut for a benefit concert for the China Care Foundation, which has a goal of "providing extensive medical, social and educational programs . . . for special needs Chinese orphans." In October 2011, they played in Austin, Texas, in the Concert For Wildfire Relief benefit. In 2010 they toured with the Eagles.

But the group has had a much lower profile these days, a marked departure from the late 1990s and early 2000s when it sold more records than any country band and then ran into political controversy.

At a concert in London in 2003, lead singer Natalie Maines told the crowd: "Just so you know, we're on the good side with y'all. We do not want this war (with Iraq), this violence, and we're ashamed that the president of the United States is from Texas."

The backlash was immediate, negative and had significant repercussions for the Dixie Chicks. They quit getting radio play and became outcasts in the country music world. In 2006 the band released an unapologetic album, Taking the Long Way, which sold well around the world but not in the United States.

The group then went on hiatus for several years as the women concentrated on their families.

After a couple of years, band members (and sisters) Emily Robison and Martie Maguire wanted to resume performing. Maines was less interested and was doing some solo work, so the sisters started a duo named Court Yard Hounds, and recorded a self-titled album.

Lloyd Maines, Natalie's father, who co-produced the Chicks' 2002 album, Home, told the three Dixie Chicks are "definitely still an entity." He said, "I know that the girls seem really happy being out of the public eye. They hit it so hard for so many years. The dynamics have changed so much now because they've all got kids that are in school. The happy-go-lucky, just-take-off-and-go situation has definitely changed."

Natalie Maines, 37, has been married to actor Adrian Pasdar since 2000. They have two children, 11 and 8.

Emily Robison, 39, who plays a variety of instruments, and her boyfriend, Martin Strayer, are expecting a child in September, her fourth. She has three children, a 9-year-old and 7-year-old twins, with her ex-husband, country singer Charlie Robison. They divorced in 2008.

Martie Maguire, 42, who also plays several instruments, married Northern Ireland actor Gareth Maguire in 2001. They have 8-year-old twins and another child who is almost 4.

Q&A: Whatever happened to the Dixie Chicks? 07/16/12 [Last modified: Monday, July 16, 2012 4:58pm]
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