Critics still chirping at Dixie Chicks: At least one local radio station still boycotting group

Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks performs live on NBC’s “Today Show” in New York on November 2003. (KRT photo: Nicolas Khayat)

By Paula Cronic Freedom Newspapers

It was three years ago that Dixie Chicks’ lead singer Natalie Maines insulted President Bush and many country music fans with her now famous comment heard around the world, literally.

Back from a long hiatus and with their new album titled, “Taking the Long Way,” the Dixie Chicks remain a source of controversy.

The CD debuted at No. 1 last week on the Billboard 200 and country album charts.

Local Portales resident Buzz Goodson was adamant about his feelings toward the Dixie Chicks and Maines in particular.

“I wish they would just stay gone,” Goodson said. “If they come on the radio, I change the station.”

Many country radio stations around the United States took the Dixie Chicks out of their rotations when Maines said on stage in London: “Just so you know, we’re ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas.”

According to a story on the Associated Press’ Web site, country radio stations are continuing to keep the Dixie Chicks off their rotation and at least one area radio plans to do the same.

“I think they should stay off,” said Darla Rhodes of Clovis. “They can have their opinion, but I think it hurt the Country and Western industry when they (said it),” she said.

Clovis radio station owner Steve Rooney said the station stopped playing the Dixie Chicks when Maines first made her remarks.

“It was more of, at the time, a reaction to what we were hearing from the type of person who listens to our station,” Rooney said. “The popular reaction to what the Chicks had said was very negative and we, on top of hundreds of other country stations said, ‘Okay, well if the popular thing to do is to not play them, then we won’t.’”

Portales resident Jordan Pierce still listens to the Dixie Chicks and will continue to do so.

“It wasn’t necessarily that harsh of something to say but maybe it’s something that she shouldn’t have said since she is in the spotlight,” Pierce said.

Nico Cameron of Portales doesn’t understand the fuss.

“Whatever happened to freedom of speech,” Cameron said. “If you didn’t like it, blow it off and let it go.”

Clovis country disc jockey Christi LeBlanc continues to play their music.

“There’s a lot of listeners that still do listen to their music,” LeBlanc said, “even though they don’t necessarily believe what they think politically.”

In fact, LeBlanc said the station has been getting more requests for their single each day.

A story on the Chicago Tribune’s Web site reported the new album was produced by longtime rock producer Rick Rubin. In an interview, the Dixie Chicks opened up about how they wanted to produce an album that didn’t sound like traditional country music.

Rooney said country listeners are loyal but also patriotic and don’t forget things easily.

“I think the (Dixie) Chicks might have to prove themselves … again.”