With new name and album, The Chicks’ voices ring loud again

The Dixie Chicks perform at the 45th Annual Grammy Awards at Madison Square Garden on February 23, 2003 in New York City. (Photo by Frank Micelotta/Getty Images)
The Dixie Chicks perform at the 45th Annual Grammy Awards at Madison Square Garden on February 23, 2003 in New York City. (Photo by Frank Micelotta/Getty Images)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Dixie Chicks are no more. Breaking their ties to the South, The Chicks are stepping into a new chapter in their storied career with their first new music in 14 years.

The Texas trio of Emily Strayer, Martie Maguire and Natalie Maines have been teasing new music for a year, and “Gaslighter” finally drops on July 17 when the nation is embroiled in divisive politics, cancel culture and a racial reckoning.

“It just seemed like a good reflection on our times,” said Maines. “In 20 years, we’ll look back at that album cover and title and remember exactly what was going on in the country right then.”

“Gaslighter” is a term that describes a psychological abuser who manipulates the truth to make a person feel crazy. In recent years, it’s been used to describe powerful men like Harvey Weinstein or Donald Trump.

“I think most everybody has a gaslighter in their lives somewhere,” said Strayer. “But, yeah, it was so weird how it echoes our current administration.”

As the best-selling female group in RIAA history, The Chicks appealed to a generation of country fans who saw themselves in the band’s stories, whether it was “Wide Open Spaces” or “Cowboy Take Me Away.” Their first major label record in 1998 has sold 13 million copies in the U.S. alone.

With Maguire on fiddle and Strayer on banjo, they were all steeped in bluegrass and classic country, but relished in fun country pop on crossover songs like “Goodbye Earl.” They were country music’s next big thing until suddenly the door was slammed on them.

In 2003, as then-President George Bush was preparing to invade Iraq, the trio were playing a show in London when Maines announced they were ashamed that the president was from Texas.