• Emily Bowie

Is this the new NATALIE MAINES album from THE CHICKS?

Updated: Jul 28

The new album Gaslighter comes out in 5 hours from when I’m typing this. And it scares me. Maybe even saddens me too. The band formerly known as the Dixie Chicks, are releasing their last contracted album at 11pm central time. I’m not worried about it being the last album that these ladies put out, but I do feel like it is the last time they will release music as a group. And if the three songs that have been released already from this album are any indication of what we can expect, it’s really just a Natalie Maines divorce album with very pop driven production. The sadness comes when thinking about how talented Emily and Martie are as musicians and so far, they are not heard here.

The last time The Chicks released an album was back in 2006 with their Grammy Award winning album, Taking The Long Way. This album was also highly anticipated due to the controversy The Chicks caused three year prior, by saying they were ashamed the president of the United Staes was from Texas. Seems like child’s play these days. But that album was a smash! The first single, Not Ready To Make Nice was the response song to all the “haters” who refused to play or buy their records. And from the first note of that song, you knew it was something special. Lyrically and musically, it showcased Natalie’s power vocals and the amazing musicianship of sisters Emily and Martie. The rest of the album follows quite nicely as well, with songs about their journey up to this point, personal challenges with all three members, and hope.

Now, 14 years later, we have Gaslighter. And the title track is all about Natalie’s divorce from her husband, Adrian Pasdar as well as about 90% of the rest of the tracks. Only three songs have been released but The Chicks have been posting the lyrics to many of the songs and she’s pissed. Pissed off at her ex and calling him out in every way she can. We really have no idea if any of the others have gone through much because this is very Natalie focused so far with little room left for anyone else’s journey. And ok, I can live with that. She is and has always been the focus. But where Natalie shines the best is with her bandmates next to her, showcasing their equally, if not more unique, talents in tandem with her. So far I can’t see a tour behind this album. Im sure there was one planned before the virus hit, but I can’t envision a whole set dedicated to these new songs. Just slapping some banjo and fiddle on some backing tracks in a supporting role is not what I consider a Dixie Chick album, but maybe that’s what The Chicks album is now.

Don’t read too much into that being something other than what it says. I do not have a problem with the name change. They came up with the name, they can change it. My concern lies with the decision to go with poppy producer Jack Antonoff who doesn’t appear to want real life musicians heard on this album. In reality, he should feel greatful to record such talent. You really felt that understanding from producer Rick Rubin who produced Taking The Long Way. The ladies played several instruments on that album and it showed. So far, Gaslighter really falls short on talent at this point. If it’s there, then it’s overshadowed by pop production. And not even the ear candy kind, just basic boredom from synth keys and beat loops.

However, the clock is still ticking and there are now only 4 hours remaining until I can actually hear the music to all the divorce and lit up lyrics Natalie and The Chicks have been posting about. So maybe, hopefully I will be so pleasantly surprised and happily eat my words. Because I am a HUGE Dixie Chicks fan and now The Chicks fan. It’s kinda like you rooting for someone you know can hit grand slams at every at bat so you just don’t want anyone to messing up their swing.


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