We’ve known for a while that a new Jack Antonoff-produced album from the Dixie Chicks was on the way. Now we have a title, and more details behind what motivated the upcoming record. In a recent appearance on the Spiritualgasm podcast with Arielle Kebbel and Sterling Jones, not only did Dixie Chicks member Natalie Maines drop the album title, she also spoke in depth about the inspiration for the album, and how it came about.
“When I started getting a divorce, I had a lot to say, so that sparked me being ready,” Natalie explained. “Songwriting is really hard for me, and for many years I didn’t want to analyze life or my relationship. I was just in it, and dedicated and devoted, and if I had started writing songs about it, that might not have been good. I was just in a … I don’t want to say ‘survival mode,’ but I was just not ready to open up. And then when my relationship fell apart, I had a lot to say.”
The new album will not be a reunification of the trio, though some of the media will (and have) mistakenly touted it as such. Natalie Maines, Emily Erwin, and Martie Erwin played multiple shows together opening for The Eagles in 2010, toured extensively in 2013 throughout Canada and Europe, and then launched a successful Untied States tour in 2016, which included playing the marquee performance with Beyonce at the 2016 CMA Awards. The new record is simply be a re-emergence of the band in the recorded space. It is their first studio effort in 13 years. And though some believe the Dixie Chicks disbanded due to the controversy, it had just as much or more to do with the trio wanting to spend more time with their families.
“I definitely needed some time off,” Natalie says. “But I had just feeling like I had achieved more than I had ever … you have these dreams, and I had surpassed all of my dreams. And I saw Adrain [Natalie’s soon-to-be ex-husband] still striving for his. And as an actor you have to make yourself available, and we didn’t want our kids raised by nannies. And to make a record means you then have to tour. It’s a whole cycle. It’s was easy when the kids weren’t in school. You can just bring them. But once they get their own lives, we didn’t want to make their lives about us and ourt careers. And I like being domestic. I don’t have a problem cleaning the house and doing yard work, and cooking. So I just wanted to be a mom, and stay at home.”
Though most music fans know about the controversy surrounding the Dixie Chicks and their comments in 2003 about then President George W. Bush in the run up to the Iraq War, few remember the other controversy the group was embroiled in with their label, which the Dixie Chicks claim resulted in them receiving very few royalties from their music over the years.
“On our last tour is when our manager informed us—when we signed our contract, we had to sign for seven albums, and that’s what everybody did back then. On the last tour we did a live album, and Sony accepted it as one of our seven albums, so we only had one more … When we learned that Sony would take that live album as a ‘turned in’ album and we only had one more—we found all that out before I was getting a divorce—I was like, ‘Okay, I’ll do an album.’ But we thought we would do a covers album, just do it real easy, turn it in and get the money, and be free agents. And then my relationship fell apart, and I had a lot to say. So [Gaslighter] is not a covers album. Our last album was the most personal and autobiographical we’d ever been, and this one is ten times that.”
Natalie Maines also said that they have a tour mapped out to accompany the new album, both of which are expected in 2020. Even though we haven’t heard any new music from the trio yet, they recently returned to the country charts via their collaboration with Taylor Swift on the song “Soon You’ll Get Better.” Though we don’t have a specific release date or track list, two songs were confirmed on the record: “Go It Alone,” and the title track, “Gaslighter.”
More information on the new Dixie Chicks album when it becomes available.