Encyclopedia of the Great Plains

David J. Wishart, Editor


The Dixie Chicks

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The Dixie Chicks erupted onto the national music scene in 1998 with their major label debut album, Wide Open Spaces. Sisters Emily Erwin Robison and Martie Erwin Seidel founded the group in 1989 with Laura Lynch and Robin Macy, gaining regional acclaim as a close-harmony bluegrass band that always delivered with a honeysuckle sound and virtuoso instrumentation. Macy left in 1992 and Lynch in 1995. Late in 1995 the Erwin sisters joined their solid musicianship with the craggy, soulful vocal talents of Lubbock native Natalie Maines to develop a musical sound with a decidedly West Texas edge that has proved to be just the right blend for winning millions of new converts as well as die-hard country fans to their distinctive interpretation of rocking Texas roots music.

Wide Open Spaces won a plethora of awards, including a Grammy for best country album, the National Association of Record Merchandisers Award for best-selling recording by a new group, and the Country Music Association Award for album of the year, among many other accolades. In 2002 Wide Open Spaces won the group a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for the best-selling country debut album of all time.

Fly, the band's second album, followed close behind their first and won them Grammys, Billboard awards, and Country Music Association awards in both 1999 and 2000 for their talents and the album. Their 1999 tour promoting Fly gained a life of its own, making the Dixie Chicks a pop-culture phenomenon, with young and enthusiastic audiences flocking to their innovative performance spectaculars to hear old-fashioned banjo and fiddle music and contemporary lyrics tuned to a new age.

The Dixie Chicks are consummate musicians. They play their own lead instruments, do their own sessions work, and write their own songs. With the success of Wide Open Spaces they gained the commercial opportunity to write many of the songs they recorded on Fly, including "Ready to Run" and "Cowboy Take Me Away" by Martie Seidel and Marcus Hammon, "Don't Waste Your Heart" by Emily Robison and Natalie Maines, "Sin Wagon" by Natalie Maines, Emily Robison, and Stephany Smith, and "Without You" by Natalie Maines and Eric Silver.

Pamela H. Brink Associated Authors and Editors, Inc.

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