The trio formerly known as The Dixie Chicks entered the country music world with blazing vocals, banjos and fiddles, and a spirit that would take the Texas trio to superstar status. Natalie Maines, Martie Maguire and Emily Strayer released their debut album Wide Open Spaces in 1998 to critical and public acclaim. Three platinum-selling albums and a couple of world tours later, they released their 2020 album Gaslighter — their first album in 14 years.
Below, we look back at some of the best of the best from the band's discography. From an anthem for justice to a dreamy country love song, here are our picks for The Chicks' 17 best songs.
17. "March March"
Released in the summer of 2020, the protest song "March March" is an unflinching call for social justice and a celebration of using your voice for change. "Half of you love me/ Half already hate me," lead singer Natalie Maines sings in a nod to her comments about former president George W. Bush over 15 years earlier — proof that the trio remains as outspoken and fearless as ever.
16. "Sin Wagon"
Probably the only country song to reference "mattress dancin'," "Sin Wagon" is a blazing bluegrass jam that values good ol' fashion hell-raisin' over fire and brimstone pearl clutching and Bible thumping. It's a standout track from the trio's album Fly, which also featured "Cold Day in July," "Without You" and "Cowboy Take Me Away."
15. "Truth No. 2"
Longtime fans and disciples of the great singer-songwriter Patty Griffin, the Chicks offered a rousing version of Griffin's "Truth No.2" on their 2003 album Home. As seen in the above video filmed during the group's 2016 world tour, the song became an anthem for the fiercely outspoken trio and their fans.
14. "Easy Silence"
From their 2006 album Taking the Long Way, the gorgeous and soothing "Easy Silence" indicated that the trio was as at home in the adult contemporary realm as they were in the world of country music.
13. "I Can Love You Better"
The fun and sassy "I Can Love You Better" served as the trio's debut single. The song hit No. 7 on the Billboard country chart in 1998.
12. "You Were Mine"
From their debut album Wide Open Spaces, "You Were Mine" is a heartbreaker about a broken marriage. Alongside album cuts "Loving Arms" and "Once You've Loved Somebody," the song proved the Chicks' were as adept at telling tales of pain and loss as ones of new beginnings. The song was written by members Martie Maguire and Emily Strayer.
11. "Without You"
Written by Eric Silver and Natalie Maines, the stark and moody "Without You" was the fifth single from the group's 1999 album Fly.
10. "Ready to Run"
Written by Marcus Hummon and Marie Maguire, the Celtic-inspired "Ready to Run" is quintessential Chicks. The ode to independence and living on your own terms was fittingly featured on the soundtrack for the 1999 Julia Roberts and Richard Gere rom-com, Runaway Bride.
9. "Long Time Gone"
Written by Darrell Scott, "Long Time Gone," which includes a fiery takedown of contemporary country music, was the first single from the Chicks 2003 album Home. The song was the perfect introduction to an album that saw the women paying tribute to Stevie Nicks with Fleetwood Mac's "Landslide," covering Patty Griffin and collaborating with Marty Stuart.
8. "The Long Way Around"
Written by the Chicks and Dan Wilson, "The Long Way Around" is an autobiographical track about the three small-town Texans who achieved success on their own terms. The song references Maines' comments that the trio was ashamed that President George W. Bush is from Texas, which led to many radio stations across the United States ceasing to play the band's music.
7. "There's Your Trouble"
The trio delivers a dose of reality to a new flame stuck in the past in the bubbly "There's Your Trouble," the second single from Wide Open Spaces.
6. "Top of the World"
Written by Patty Griffin, the devastating "Top of the World" remains one of the most emotional and memorable tracks recorded by the Chicks.
5. "Goodbye Earl"
This tale of Mary Ann and Wanda, two best friends who band together to take down an abusive husband, was written by Dennis Linde and recorded by the Chicks for their 1999 album Fly. Though it was considered controversial upon its release, the song still hit the top 20 on the country charts. "Goodbye Earl" remains one of the Chicks' best known and most beloved songs.
4. "Wide Open Spaces"
Anyone who's ever set out to make a change can relate to "Wide Open Spaces." Written by singer-songwriter Susan Gibson, the song, along with album cuts like "Am I the Only One Who's Ever Felt This Way," positioned the trio as country-folk heroes.
3. "Not Ready to Make Nice"
Following Maines' controversial comments about President Bush in 2003, the group was essentially blacklisted from country radio. But anyone who expected the trio to back down or backtrack didn't know the Chicks at all. In 2006, the women returned with "Not Ready to Make Nice," a blistering track about standing your ground. Written by the Chicks and Dan Wilson, "Not Ready to Make Nice" won Grammy Awards for Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group.
2. "Travelin' Soldier"
Written by singer-songwriter Bruce Robison, "Travelin' Soldier" is a song set during the Vietnam-era that follows the blossoming relationship between an 18-year-old American soldier and a teenage girl. The achingly sad song reflects the realities of war.
1. "Cowboy Take Me Away"
Written by Martie Maguire and Marcus Hummon, "Cowboy Take Me Away" became one of the Chicks' many signature songs. Centering on a longing for simple pleasures and a real emotional connection, the song builds to a joyous, dreamy and utterly intoxicating climax that's enough to make anyone pack up and head for the country.
Editor's Note: An earlier version of this article was originally published on August 14, 2018. It was updated on July 7, 2022.
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