It was the politcal rant heard all over the world. When the Dixie Chicks lead singer, Natalie Maines, while in London proclaimed that they were "ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas" in 2003, radio stations banned their music, and country music fans destroyed their albums. While Maines likely never imagined the repercussions her one statement would have, both for her and fellow band members Emily Robison and Martie Maguire, Vince Gill is defending the trio, saying they were treated unfairly.
Gill remembers that Maines' father, Lloyd Maines, recently reached out to him, and thanked him for sticking up for the trio, even though Gill held different political views.
"I've been meaning to tell you this for many, many years, but you and Rosanne [Cash] were the only two people that stuck up for my kid. And as a father, I just wanted to thank you," Gill recalled Lloyd saying in a webinar hosted by Country Radio Seminar via the Washington Post.
"I found it pretty astounding that they kind of buried them for just making a probably not-so-polite comment," he continued. "But all I said was, 'Man, I hear people say a lot worse things about [the president] every day up on Capitol Hill and nobody gets barbecued for that. Why are you going to take their career away from them?'"
Gill doesn't subscribe to the theory that fans have to either side with an artist for whatever their political view is, or ban them entirely, and believes there can, and should, be a middle ground.
"I'm not trying to make a statement and say 'Believe what I believe,'" Gill acknowledged. "I just think if you can have a fair and decent and graceful conversation about any subject, nobody has to get completely unwound to the point of all that division."
The Dixie Chicks just announced their new album, Gaslighter, will be released next year, accompanied by a tour. Gaslighter, Maines promises, will be an honest reveal of what all three women have experienced over the years, including Maines' recent divorce from actor Adrian Pasdar.
"I had a lot to say," Maines said on the Spiritualgasm podcast. "Songwriting is really hard for me, and I think for many years, I didn't want to analyze my life or my relationship. I was just in it and dedicated and devoted, and if I had started writing songs about it … I don't want to say I was in a 'survival mode,' but I was just not ready to open up like that."
Photo Credit: Getty / Terry Wyatt