Wednesday, July 18, 2007

How Will I Ever

Get to Heaven Now?

Rain is coming down and delaying my plans for heading Cineplex to rot my brain with whichever film is showing this afternoon. I actually have no idea what is showing, but I’m tired of sitting at home. After the disaster that was Valhalla Rising, by brain is refusing to allow me to read anything as it detoxes. I’ve watched as many DVDs on my laptop as I can handle for now. I’d bake something, one of my favorite pastimes, but I’m sans oven right now—a problem I hope to resolve in the very near future. (I’ll just get fat. It’s the one vice left when you’re dead meat.) I’ve got to get out and mingle with living, breathing people.

But it’s raining…so I’m back on my sofa, laptop in my, well…lap, feet propped on the coffee table, thinking about how much I like the Dixie Chicks.

It took me awhile to become Chicks fan. I always disliked country music. It was always on the radio at Grandma’s house. Before I knew what being car sick was, I thought the reason for my nausea during road trips was the twang of the steel guitar featured in my cousins’ musical selections as we traversed the hills of northern Alabama. I gained an appreciation for the Chicks’ music after the release of their second album, Fly (not really their second because they had independent releases before Natalie, but their second major-label release). The song Sin Wagon struck a chord with me, and it tore down the long-standing I-hate-country-music barrier I’d built to protect myself from some really bad music. (“Feed Jake. He’s been a good dog…” Are you kidding me? Yuck!)

Anyway, I just got a copy of the DVD, Shut Up and Sing, a documentary about the Dixie Chicks’ career since Natalie Maines, the groups lead singer, said, “Just so you know, we’re ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas,” during a show in London in 2003. The reaction and backlash in America was tremendous and outrageous. Comments such as: “I believe in freedom of speech. Just don’t do it in public” ensued and the girls’ music was banned from the radio basically everywhere that played country music. How did such a simple comment from a small entertainer in a relatively small venue to a relatively small crowd in London capture so much media attention in the U.S.? Why did such a simple comment from a small entertainer in a relatively small venue to a relatively small crowd in London capture the President of the United States of America’s attention and lead him to make a lame-ass comment about it during a primetime interview with Tom Brokaw when there was (is) a war going on?

Natalie’s response to the lame-ass comment? “You’re a dumb f@$*. You are a dumb f@$*.”

You gotta love her! Unless, that is, Natalie is the reason you were late for prom because you were bumped from your hair appointment because she was a walk-in and your stylist gave her preference. Then you don’t gotta love her. Sorry, C, but can’t we just let the past go?

Why did such a simple comment from a small entertainer in a relatively small venue to a relatively small crowd in London inspire the making of a documentary film? I guess it was the reaction of the American public that inspired the documentary. In the words of Luther Campbell of 2 Live Crew, “The First Amendment gave me freedom of speech. What are you sayin’? It didn’t include me?” Someone said something, playfully, not in favor of the President, and the reaction in America was tremendous and outrageous. Death threats were even made! The reaction to the Chicks’ comment and how the Chicks’ dealt with the reaction makes an interesting story. Plus, it inspired some excellent music.

Excellent music. It was the documentary, Shut Up and Sing, that inspired me purchase my first Dixie Chicks’ album. I bought Taking the Long Way from iTunes two days ago, and I’m loving it. Lubbock or Leave It really gets me moving and makes me think of Nicole and her, “and I did,” comment and giggle a little.

Temptation's strong (Salvation's gone).
I'm on my way to hell's half acre.
How will I ever?
How will I ever get to heaven now?

Oh, well. The rain has stopped. I guess it’s off to Garden City to rot my brain.


I watched the Grammy Awards this past February at Copa Cabana in Naalya. The Dixie Chicks’ pretty much swept the awards. Most of the people I was with watching the awards were unfamiliar with the Dixie Chicks and their music and were outraged that they beat Mary J. Blige. I tried to explain the significance of the Chicks winning, but they just didn’t get it.


Darlkom said...

I love the Dixie Chicks, they're awesome, couldn't recommend them more highly.

Nicole Ashley said...

When I went to Montana for Cristy's wedding I was sitting at the airport waiting for my ride to show up listening to them play country music over the loudspeaker. I had been warned that Montana has cowboys just like Texas (think Brokeback Mountain) and I was starting to feel right at home until a Dixie Chicks song came on. I did a double take at the speaker and said out loud "Now I know I'm not in Texas anymore". Reason: after all this time you still will NEVER hear a Dixie Chicks song played on any Texas radio station or at any Texas establishment. It's quite sad really. But not quite as sad as the fact that I keep finding myself back in Lubbock! I tried to leave but it keeps sucking me back in...

Timothy said...

@ darlkom: Yay! I really love what I've heard from the Home album. Very acoustic.

@ nicole: And you're not in Uganda either. Some of the Chicks' big hits do get some airplay, but it's not common.

kelly said...

I LOVE the dixie chicks!!! Always have always will! I am dying to see that movie!!! Can I borrow!! Anyway, I will give you a buzz tomorrw we have lunch Friday when I get off!! Yay, so happy you are discovering the dixie chicks, my favorite album is Wide Open Spaces. You should check out that one!

Timothy said...

@ Kelly: I think I heard Wide Open Spaces for the first time while bowling during spring break in Chattanooga, Tenn in 1999. (Yes, I went the Chat-town for spring break. No drugs involved.) I resisted liking them for as long as I could, but resistance was futile.