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The Dixie Chicks

By Dwayne Carter
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Dixie Chicks    Fly

Compact Disc CD Stock Number: Monument Records NK69678 Compact Disc



I’m a big advocate for exposure. No, I don’t mean the kind of exposure you get from a dirty old man in a raincoat, or the titillating exposure you get from a night at Hooters (which I’m for, of course!). I’m talking about the exposure you get from trying new things. If it’s not too dangerous or life threatening, I’ll give it a try. We should all try to expose ourselves to different things. Wine, food, toys, cars, people, and of course…music.

I was exposed to classical music in high school, by my band director Donny Deal (thanks Don!!). Donny forced our High school band to play “Jupiter” one of the pieces from, The Planets by Gustav Holst. Although it freaked out the farmers (who were used to a nice Sousa March) it exposed me to classical music for the first time. Today, I wakeup every morning listening to a classical piece or three on my DSS or car radio/CD.

Exposure. That’s what I’m talkin’ ‘bout.

I was exposed to country music when I moved to Wisconsin, but personal taste and racial prejudice kept me far from the line dances (that and the fact  I really hate conformity, and a line dance is just about as close to conformity as you can get, unless you count the Jones Town massacre).

Anyway, about a year ago while flicking through 200 channels I landed on a late night talk show. Three babes where signin’ and prancin’ about (and they were pretty cute, too!). So being a guy, I stopped flicking for just a moment. And that, my friend’s, was all it took! The song was "There’s Your Trouble" and the group was the Dixie Chicks! That catchy song was all it took for me to bop down to my local Tower Records and scoop up the CD Wide Open Spaces (Monument Records NK68195).

"There’s Your Trouble" is a song, in which someone is dying to tell another person what their problem is. For those of you who know me well, that’s my thing! While it is too late for me to review this excellent album; but trust me, just pick it up. It is that good. Because of the strength of Wide Open Spaces I eagerly awaited the Dixie Chicks second CD, Fly. Amazon.com delivered it to my door this month! Was it worth the wait? Well, after the second listening I will say yes. This album was worth the wait but it took some time to grow on me.

Fly is much more country and less "cross-over" than Wide Open Spaces.  The ‘Chicks have taken a dangerous chance with success, and have tilted the flavor of the CD into the Country/Bluegrass area (a bit). While this may alienate some new fans, I think if you give the CD a second spin you will be glad you did. Fly opens with "Ready To Run" complete with Irish Tin Whistles and Bodhran drums. You would swear you just put on a Corr’s CD. No foolin’ ?!! (no fookin' way --ed  :-{)  ). Music is International folks! (see editor's previous comments --ed). You can mix any style and make it work (if you’re talented).

The Dixie Chicks seem to be letting more personality show through in this CD. "If I fall You’re Going Down With Me" is a perfect example. “If I fall you’re going down with me. You’re going down with me baby, If I fall” has a nice strong feeling to it. I also thought the song, "Hole In My Head" with a nice pro-female hook:

“I need a boy like you
Like a hole in my head
You better find somebody to take my place”

Living in Illinois, now, I miss the hills and trees of Wisconsin, on a daily basis. The song, "Cowboy Take Me Away" strikes a personal cord (change the gender to Cowgirl, though!).

"I wanna walk and not run
I wanna skip and not fall
I wanna look at the horizon
And not see a building standing tall
I wanna be the only one
For miles and miles
Except for maybe you
And the simple smile on your face."

If you’re a city dweller and you think that’s a little hokey, spend a few months away from the noise, pollution, buildings and crap. Get back to me. Country music is known for it’s sad heartbreak songs (so is Blues, Rap, Rock…etc.) and you will find a few on this CD. "Cold Day In July" will pull at your heartstrings a bit.

“You said that we were gonna last forever
You said our love would never die
It looks like spring and
It feels like sunny weather
But it’s a cold day in July”


"Hello Mr. Heartache" and  "Don’t Waste Your Heart" follow closely, as typical country heartbreak fair. An exception would be "Heartbreak Town". This is over and above the typical sad-life fair. A nice song altogether. Spin it twice (before moving on to the next tune). The CD is not all downers, though. Not only has success allowed the ‘Chicks to play music more to their liking, but it has also allowed them to have some fun. The CD jacket is filled with fun posses and props while the song "Goodbye Earl" (about an abusive husband’s early demise) is sure to be a fun video.

“Earl had to die
Goodbye Earl
We need a break
Let’s go out to the lake Earl
We’ll pack a lunch
And stuff you in the trunk Earl
Well is that alright?
Good. Let’s go for a ride
Earl hey.”

Now that’s damn funny!!

A good tune to make you yell, YYYEEEEHHHAAAAAAAAAAAA….. Trust me, just do it when no one is around and you will be fine. Then comes the song "Sin Wagon"!!  Oh yes... This tunes fun! Fast tempo, dueling guitars. It will be ok, trust me. No "Deliverance" sensitivity needed. wow, even a mouth harp too! What? You have never watched Hee Haw? This song will have your feet a’ tappin! (sorry).

“Praise the Lord
And pass the ammunition
Need a little bit more
of what I’ve been missin’"

Hot Damn!! Uhem… sorry.

"Some Day’s You Gotta Dance" will truly have you dancing or at least a foot a’ tappin’ (stop fighting it). This tune opens up with such a ZZ Top guitar riff, that I was waiting for the “…Money for nothing and your chicks for free…” line!! The final song, "Let Him Fly" is my new reference quality song for testing equipment. "Let Him Fly" is an acoustic composition. On the right equipment, you can hear every breath Natalie takes, or feel every string Martie or Emily pluck. The recording is just that clean and the musicians are just that good.

The song is one of the strongest on the CD, and carries the theme of the CD (to Fly) to a worthy completion. As Natalie wails... 

“Ain’t no talkin’ to this man
He’s been tryin to tell me so
It took a while to understand
The beauty of just letting go
‘Cause it would take an acrobat n’
I already tried all that
I’m gonna let him fly-fly
I’m gonna let him fly.”

You’d better have some speakers that can handle her strong vocals, because she sings with such strength and conviction, any weakness (yours or your equipment) will become glaringly obvious.

If you have to drive to the next town, wear a disguise and change your voice. Pick up the Dixie Chicks new CD Fly. If you are new to country music I recommend you enjoy the CD Wide Open Spaces first. Then tackle Fly. Fly may scare you off before you get comfortable with it. I mean, if you were going to introduce Rap to a Country music fan I would not start with a collection of Tupac’s greatest hits. I would start with a Will Smith CD or three.

Do not be held up by former prejudices and fear of being heckled by your friends. My new appreciation for country music will not grant me easier access into your local country bar or make me want to run out and buy a Cowboy hat, but it has opened me up to some incredible music. I believe all forms of music stem from a common origin (I’m betting on Africa, challenge me if you like). Therefore, all music is universal. You can find tribal beats in an Irish Jig, or a funky Bass line in a bit of Brahms. Music knows no boundaries. We set the boundaries….

So go ahead…expose yourself...to the Dixie Chicks…and Fly!!

Enjoyment: 88

Sound Quality:  92













































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