In 2003, amid the controversial conflict in Iraq, the Dixie Chicks' Natalie Maines shared her thoughts on then-president George W. Bush at a London concert: "We’re ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas."
The fallout was extreme. The trio received menacing letters; fans deserted and boycotted them; country music radio stations refused to play their songs; sponsors fled. But what happened to the Dixie Chicks' career after that?
The Dixie Chicks - comprising Maines, Martie Maguire, and Emily Robison - have won 13 Grammy Awards, including five in 2007 for their album Taking the Long Way. Throughout their career, they've sold more than 30 million albums. Though they've taken a step back from constant touring, the Dixie Chicks are still making music, still political, and still not really ready to make nice. In a show of strong female musical force, they even sang with Beyoncé.
Here's what the Dixie Chicks have been up to since the 2003 backlash.
They Scaled Back On Touring
After releasing their album Home in 2002 and embarking on a worldwide tour (when Natalie Maines made the statement about President Bush), the Dixie Chicks massively scaled back their touring. Many country music fans were still upset by the group's political stance, so the group waited three years before hitting the road again. Tickets sales were not strong for the tour, and the band ended up canceling some dates in the US while adding shows in other countries.
After the tour wrapped, the group took a hiatus from touring until 2013, though they did co-headline some concert dates with the Eagles and Keith Urban in 2010.
They Released A Grammy-Winning AlbumPhoto: Sony Music
In 2006, the Dixie Chicks released their seventh studio album, Taking the Long Way. The album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart and went on to sell 2.5 million copies. Several songs on the album addressed the 2003 controversy directly or indirectly, including "Not Ready to Make Nice" and "The Long Way Around."
The critically acclaimed album went on to win five Grammy Awards.
They Were The Subject Of A DocumentaryVideo: YouTube
In the 2006 documentary Dixie Chicks: Shut Up and Sing, filmmakers Barbara Kopple and Cecilia Peck examined the aftermath of Natalie Maines's controversial statement on George W. Bush. It won numerous awards and received much critical praise.
The film's title comes from a lyric in the Dixie Chicks' song "Not Ready to Make Nice" from their album Taking the Long Way, released the same year as the documentary. The lyric refers to a letter sent to the group from an angry fan:
Can the words that I said
Send somebody so over the edge
That they'd write me a letter
Saying that I better
Shut up and sing
Or my life will be over?
They've Had Children