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The Chicks

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Delivering a successor to their breakthrough smash Wide Open Spaces was easy -- Fly followed a year afterward, sounding sleek and satisfying. Following that album turned out to be a little more difficult for the Chicks, not least because they were involved in an ugly battle with their record company over royalties. While they were away, country radio grew stricter, but there were undercurrents of change, particularly in the grassroots success of the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack. The Chicks always had deep country roots, but it was entirely conceivable that they could have chosen the pop route, since it's always the safest bet for established stars to follow the mainstream -- especially after they have been away for a while. Fortunately, one thing this trio has never been is predictable, and they were emboldened by their successful battle with the label, along with the O Brother, leading to the stunner that is Home, their sixth album. There may be a Stevie Nicks cover here, but there are no concessions to pop anywhere; there are hardly any electric guitars, actually. This is a pure country album, loaded with fiddles, acoustic guitars, and close harmonies, but retaining the Chicks' signature flair, sense of humor, and personality. It's a vibrant, quirky, heartfelt record that finds the group investing as much in a funny, rollicking number like "White Trash Wedding" or something as sadly sweet as "Godspeed (Sweet Dreams)." But the key to the album is that, as they so brilliantly put it on the wonderful opener, "Long Time Gone," they recognize many modern country singers "sound tired but they don't sound Haggard" and "have money but they don't have Cash" -- and this is a sentiment that doesn't just apply to those riding the charts, but to the po-faced alt-country contenders who are too serious to have fun. They deftly balance modern attitudes with classic instrumentation, all built on terrific songwriting, winding up with an album that feels purer than anything on the charts, yet much livelier and genuine than alt-country. This is what country music in 2002 should sound like. With Home, the Chicks illustrate that country music should be simple but adventurous, sincere but fun. In doing so, they've delivered not just their best album, but what's arguably the best country album yet released in the 2000s. Needless to say, an instant classic.
© Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo

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The Chicks

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1
Long Time Gone
00:04:09

Dixie Chicks, Associated Performer, Main Artist, Producer - Natalie Maines - Darrell Scott, Composer, Lyricist - Lloyd Maines, Producer, Slide Guitar - Bryan Sutton, Guitar - Adam Steffey, Mandolin - Emily Burns Erwin Robison, Banjo - Paul Pearcy, Percussion - John Mock, Percussion - Glenn Fukunaga, Bass - Martie Seidel, Fiddle

(P) 2002 Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

2
Landslide
00:03:51

Dixie Chicks, Associated Performer, Main Artist, Producer - Natalie Maines - Stevie Nicks, Composer, Lyricist - Lloyd Maines, Producer - Martie Seidel - Bryan Sutton, Guitar - Adam Steffey, Mandolin - Emily Burns Erwin Robison, Banjo, Dobro - Byron House, Bass

(P) 2002 Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

3
Travelin' Soldier
00:05:43

Dixie Chicks, Associated Performer, Main Artist, Producer - Bruce Robison, Composer, Lyricist - Natalie Maines - Lloyd Maines, Producer - Bryan Sutton, Guitar - Adam Steffey, Mandolin - Emily Burns Erwin Robison, Accordion, Dobro - Paul Pearcy, Percussion - Byron House, Bass - Martie Seidel, Fiddle

(P) 2002 Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

4
Truth No. 2
00:04:29

Dixie Chicks, Associated Performer, Main Artist, Producer - Natalie Maines - Patty Griffin, Composer, Lyricist - Lloyd Maines, Producer - Bryan Sutton, Guitar - Adam Steffey, Mandolin - Emily Burns Erwin Robison, Banjo - Paul Pearcy, Percussion - Byron House, Bass - Martie Seidel, Fiddle

(P) 2002 Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

5
White Trash Wedding
00:02:21

Dixie Chicks, Associated Performer, Main Artist, Producer - Emily Burns Erwin Robison, Banjo, Composer, Lyricist - Natalie Maines, Composer, Lyricist - Lloyd Maines, Producer - Bryan Sutton, Guitar - Martha Eleanor Seidel Maguire, Composer, Lyricist - Adam Steffey, Mandolin - Glen Fukanaga, Bass - Martie Seidel, Fiddle

(P) 2002 Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

6
A Home
00:04:57

Dixie Chicks, Associated Performer, Main Artist, Producer - Natalie Maines - Maia Sharp, Composer, Lyricist - Lloyd Maines, Producer - Bryan Sutton, Guitar - Randy Sharp, Composer, Lyricist - Chris Thile, Mandolin - Emily Burns Erwin Robison, Dobro - Glenn Fukunaga, Bass - Martie Seidel, Fiddle

(P) 2002 Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

7
More Love
00:05:07

Dixie Chicks, Associated Performer, Main Artist, Producer - Natalie Maines - Tim O'Brien, Composer, Lyricist - Lloyd Maines, Acoustic Guitar, Producer - Adam Steffey, Mandolin - Gary Nicholson, Composer, Lyricist - Chris Thile, Mandolin - Emily Burns Erwin Robison, Dobro - John Mock, Bodhrán, Percussion, Uilleann Pipes - Glen Fukanaga, Bass - Martie Seidel, Fiddle

(P) 2002 Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

8
I Believe in Love
00:04:14

Dixie Chicks, Associated Performer, Main Artist, Producer - Natalie Maines, Composer, Lyricist - Martha Eleanor Seidel Maguire, Composer, Lyricist - Lloyd Maines, Producer - Emily Burns Erwin Robison, Guitar - Bryan Sutton, Guitar - Marty Stuart, Composer, Lyricist - Adam Steffey, Mandolin - Byron House, Bass - Martie Seidel, Fiddle

(P) 2002 Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

9
Tortured, Tangled Hearts
00:03:41

Dixie Chicks, Associated Performer, Main Artist, Producer - N. Maines, Composer, Lyricist - Natalie Maines - Lloyd Maines, Producer - Bryan Sutton, Guitar - M. Maguire, Composer, Lyricist - Adam Steffey, Mandolin - M. Stuart, Composer, Lyricist - Emily Burns Erwin Robison, Banjo - Byron House, Bass - Martha Eleanor Seidel Maguire, Fiddle

(P) 2002 Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

10
Lil' Jack Slade
00:02:24

Dixie Chicks, Associated Performer, Main Artist, Producer - Emily Burns Erwin Robison, Banjo, Composer - Bryan Sutton, Guitar - Martha Eleanor Seidel Maguire, Composer - Lloyd Maines, Composer, Producer - Adam Steffey, Mandolin - Chris Thile, Mandolin - Terri Hendrix, Composer - Glenn Fukunaga, Bass - Martie Seidel, Fiddle

(P) 2002 Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

11
Godspeed (Sweet Dreams)
00:04:42

Dixie Chicks, Associated Performer, Main Artist, Producer - Natalie Maines - Radney Foster, Composer, Lyricist - Lloyd Maines, Producer - Emmylou Harris - Bryan Sutton, Guitar - Paul Pearcy, Percussion - Glenn Fukunaga, Bass - Martie Seidel, Viola

(P) 2002 Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

12
Top of the World
00:06:03

Dixie Chicks, Associated Performer, Main Artist, Producer - Patty Griffin, Composer, Lyricist - Natalie Maines - Lloyd Maines, Producer - Bryan Sutton, Guitar - Adam Steffey, Mandolin - John Mock, Arranger - Martie Seidel, Violin - Leigh Mahoney, Violin - Stephanie Asdeti, Violin - Byron House, Bass - Lara Hicks, Viola - Sara Nelson, Cello

(P) 2002 Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

Album Description

Delivering a successor to their breakthrough smash Wide Open Spaces was easy -- Fly followed a year afterward, sounding sleek and satisfying. Following that album turned out to be a little more difficult for the Chicks, not least because they were involved in an ugly battle with their record company over royalties. While they were away, country radio grew stricter, but there were undercurrents of change, particularly in the grassroots success of the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack. The Chicks always had deep country roots, but it was entirely conceivable that they could have chosen the pop route, since it's always the safest bet for established stars to follow the mainstream -- especially after they have been away for a while. Fortunately, one thing this trio has never been is predictable, and they were emboldened by their successful battle with the label, along with the O Brother, leading to the stunner that is Home, their sixth album. There may be a Stevie Nicks cover here, but there are no concessions to pop anywhere; there are hardly any electric guitars, actually. This is a pure country album, loaded with fiddles, acoustic guitars, and close harmonies, but retaining the Chicks' signature flair, sense of humor, and personality. It's a vibrant, quirky, heartfelt record that finds the group investing as much in a funny, rollicking number like "White Trash Wedding" or something as sadly sweet as "Godspeed (Sweet Dreams)." But the key to the album is that, as they so brilliantly put it on the wonderful opener, "Long Time Gone," they recognize many modern country singers "sound tired but they don't sound Haggard" and "have money but they don't have Cash" -- and this is a sentiment that doesn't just apply to those riding the charts, but to the po-faced alt-country contenders who are too serious to have fun. They deftly balance modern attitudes with classic instrumentation, all built on terrific songwriting, winding up with an album that feels purer than anything on the charts, yet much livelier and genuine than alt-country. This is what country music in 2002 should sound like. With Home, the Chicks illustrate that country music should be simple but adventurous, sincere but fun. In doing so, they've delivered not just their best album, but what's arguably the best country album yet released in the 2000s. Needless to say, an instant classic.
© Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo

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