Last month, Dixie Chicks lead singer Natalie Maines released her first solo album. Titled Mother and coproduced by Maines and Ben Harper, it is an album of (mostly) covers, including the title track (from Pink Floyd’s The Wall). And while the music does exhibit some rootsy and/or folksy characteristics, it is also deliberately not a country album.
“I really just wanted this to be fun,” Maines told Rolling Stone about the project in a recent interview, “and there were so many songs I’ve always wanted to sing. And that could go on forever. I could have a hundred covers albums.”
“The words ‘rock,’ or ‘country,’ or ‘soul’…none of that ever came up,” said Harper.
Here are five things we learned about Natalie Maines in her Rolling Stone profile:
1. As a kid, she didn’t like country music.
Though she is the daughter of Lloyd Maines, a noted steel guitar player and producer who played with Texas legends the Flatlanders and helped shape the modern alt-country sound, she did not share his taste in music. Instead, she preferred Michael Jackson, Carly Simon, or the Grease soundtrack. “I had never bought a country album in my life, or even listened to one all the way through,” she says. “Growing up, I thought I was going to be Madonna. I wanted to be a pop star.”
2. The backlash after her 2003 George W. Bush comments caused her more stress than she let on.
“I joke that I have PTSD, but there’s probably truth in that joke,” Maines says. But after several years–and some therapy–she came to recognize better the emotions she’d been experience. “I didn’t have tools to know how to deal with them or acknowledge them. I always like to pretend everything’s OK. I’m a shyer person now, less trusting.”
3. Roger Waters is a fan of her cover of Pink Floyd’s “Mother.”
“I think it’s great,” Waters said of her version. “I get goosebumps just talking about it.”
4. She can’t listen anymore to Fly, the Dixie Chicks’ second album.
“My accent is so out of control on that album,” Maines says. “I’m like, ‘Who is that?'”
5. She finds country music as a whole too “blatant.”
Though as a member of the Dixie Chicks she was once one of the genre’s poster children, these days, looking at country music from a distance, she finds that “nothing seem[s] poetic or subtle. Nothing [can] be interpreted two different ways! It’s all very spelled out.”
As for the future of the Dixie Chicks, that remains uncertain — but the group has not broken up. Yes, Maines did record this album under her own name; and her two bandmates, Martie Maguire and Emily Robison, recently announced that their ‘other’ band, Court Yard Hounds, have a second record (Amelita) coming July 16. But the Chicks are playing four dates this summer. And as Maines said in theinterview, the idea of a Dixie Chicks tour “is not where my passion is…but I don’t dislike it, either.”
– Kurt Wolff, Radio.com