May-June 2007

Chicks Nix Hicks' Picks

By Ross Altman

After striking out in Nashville at the CMA awards, the Dixie Chicks hit a grand slam home run in Los Angeles at the Grammy's last February 11. They swept all three major awards: Song, Record and Album of the Year, on the way to winning all five categories in which they were nominated. They added insult to the injury of the red states' defeat in all the major contested elections last November, throwing control of the House and Senate into blue state Democratic hands for the first time in a generation.

Call it the last nail in the southern coffin. The bi-coastal cultural power centers New York and LA showed that they have no objection to country music - it was the politics they abhorred. Give us a country band not tied to Bush country, and we'll embrace it wholeheartedly, which we did.

It was also a great night for folk music, as Joan Baez - who was there to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award - looked resplendent as she introduced the Chicks to an international TV audience, as well as the Staples Center crowd. Joan drew abundant applause when she reminded us that over the years she too has been told many times to shut up and sing (the title of last year's documentary on the Dixie Chicks). She ended her brief but bravura performance by quoting Woody Guthrie: This Land Is Your Land. For one beautiful evening, it felt like it.