Natalie Maines is embarking on a solo career and she has started it of by performing at the SXSW Festival just yesterday. Can this controversial and opinionated former member of the Dixie Chicks make it on her own? From what I heard through my phone yesterday I would have to say “yes she can!” I had a friend call me saying I had to hear this. It was a bit scratchy through the phone but I knew who it was the instant I heard that voice. I got to hear one song, don’t know the name of it but it was a little more “Rocky” than anything I ever heard her sing before.
Natalie was thronged by the public for making comments about President Bush and she had a very public feud with Toby Keith that seemed to overshadow the music that the Dixie Chicks were so famous for. Lots of naysayers called for a boycott and the band never seemed to recover from the multiple scandals where Maines voiced her opinion publicly. This was tragedy in the making as the Chicks were a powerhouse trio and should have had a lot more music left to create.
Looking at other sources online, I see some criticizing the departure from country for more of a Rock sound. I really think this style suits Maines better as I never thought any of the Dixie Chicks Tunes were real down home country but more of a blend of country and pop. The new hairstyle is a bit of a stretch but Natalie pulls it off well from the pics I have seen. Some detractors are whining about the rock theme and she will lose a few more fans because of the switch. I really think this rebirth will produce a net gain in her fan base though.
How should fans react when an artist changes their genre? I am a big fan of music in general. I have never been loyal to a certain group to the point of blindly purchasing their music just because of their name. I think people get too caught up in this notion that one person is great and therefore all of their stuff will be great also. Back in the 80’s Michael Jackson could have sang Mary Had A Little Lamb and it would have gone to the top of the charts. This is great for an artist but it is detrimental to music as a whole. We should always evaluate the music first and give the artist deserved credit or criticism.
When I hear the new album called “Mother”, then I will make my review of Natalie’s solo effort but not before. I can say I like what I heard and bet it was even better at the event. So what did you think of Natalie Maines’ solo performance at SXSW? Please let us know by leaving a comment below.
Photo taken from Wikimedia By Ron Baker