Many country music radio stations have decided to cut back or cut outright any airplay for the Dixie Chicks’ “Home” (Columbia), an album that has sold 6 million copies, after Maines commented at a March 10 London concert, “We’re ashamed that the president of the United States is from Texas.”
Four days later, Maines apologized, but that’s evidently not enough for country music deejays and fans. As of May 3, “Home” held the No. 3 spot in Billboard’s top country albums chart, but because of the radio boycott, not one single from that multi-platinum CD appeared on Billboard’s chart of “Hot Country Singles & Tracks.”
The Dixie Chicks are fighting fire with flesh on the cover of the May 2 Entertainment Weekly, where they appear naked, their bodies stenciled with epithets ranging from “Saddam’s Angels” to “Traitors” to, gasp, “Free Speech.”
What has been largely brushed aside in this brouhaha is that “Home” represents the best recording from the Dixie Chicks to date. It’s shot through with real bluegrass licks from such guests as mandolinists Chris Thile and Adam Steffey, guitarist Bryan Sutton, and bassist Byron House. They abet the trio’s more modest instrumental abilities on guitar, fiddle, banjo, mandolin, and dobro.
For Irish traditional music followers, it’s a pleasant surprise to hear uilleann pipes, tin whistle, and bodhr