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Dixie Chicks Concert Review
in the Dallas Morning News, 9/28/1998

The following appeared in the Dallas Morning News and on their web site. See the bottom of the page for more info.

Ruling the Roost

Dixie Chicks take charge on home turf


By Mario Tarradell / The Dallas Morning News

Even if mainstream country radio hadn't spread the Dixie Chicks' music to a nationwide audience, lead Chick Natalie Maines' arresting personality would have done the trick.

Not to mention her explosive voice. When Ms. Maines, flanked by Emily Erwin and Martie Seidel, launched into Maria McKee's "Am I the Only One (Who's Ever Felt This Way)" on Sunday afternoon at the State Fair of Texas, she all but chewed the lyrics. She embodied the Angst of those words, reveled in the song's love-done-me-wrong attitude.

The Dallas trio returned home armed with newfound stage confidence, a platinum album and two Country Music Association Awards, which were proudly showed off during the 75-minute set's encore. The show - which began 30 minutes late, much to the sweltering crowd's dismay - was a barrier-busting bonanza. First of all, these Chicks have a natural command of diverse musical styles - bluegrass, country, rock, pop and blues - that made for an effortless, high-energy extravaganza. Then there's the solid musicianship. The fact that they actually can play as well as sing and write erases all notions that they are some Nashville-manufactured product.

Music City executives, those politically correct honchos in boots and double-breasted suits, would never approve of Ms. Maines' rambunctious rendition of Bonnie Raitt's "Love Me Like a Man." While Ms. Erwin plucked the dobro and Ms. Seidel made the fiddle moan, she sang the tune like a woman who has cried vinegar-stained tears. She essentially had her own show going - swinging her hips, throwing up her hands and bobbing her platinum-topped head.

But lest the proceedings become too fiery, the Dixie Chicks wisely offered musical shadings. "You Were Mine," a bittersweet ballad written by sisters Ms. Erwin and Ms. Seidel about their parents, was tender, a lovely tribute filled with gorgeous harmonies. A bluegrass instrumental, "Roanoke," captured the banjo prowess of Ms. Erwin and the fiddle fancywork of Ms. Seidel. "Wide Open Spaces," the title cut from their major-label debut, was evocative.

"We want this song to become an anthem for young people with young hearts who want to go out there and chase their dreams," said Ms. Maines. "It's never too late."

They should know. Formed in Dallas in 1989, the Dixie Chicks have traveled all the gravelly back roads to reach success. From their days as a kitschy, frilly Western-themed quartet to the pivotal third independent album, 1993's Shouldn't a Told You That, that provided the blueprint for this year's breakthrough, the Chicks have definitely explored those wide-open spaces.

Now, they're back home. Sunday's concert proved all dreams come full circle.

This article originally appeared in the Dallas Morning News and was copied from their web site. Unfortunately, this publication chooses to charge a price for their archived articles. It's currently $2 for a single article, with discounts for the news-hungry and money-laden.

I am reproducing the article on this site because it answers some specific questions about the Chicks' music... but if this leads to a copyright conflict, I'll drop the page and refer all callers to the Dallas Morning News Archive Site. The above article is Copyright 1998, The Dallas Morning News.

By the way, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram does not charge for access to its extensive back issue archive, and their story on the Dixie Chicks' appearance is available right here!

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