Chicks Returning to Music City for Visionary Honor

After a hiatus in which they seemed to bide their time in Texas, the Dixie Chicks will make a much-anticipated return to Nashville Wednesday night (June 12), for their first appearance at a country music event since last November.

When the Dixie Chicks played “Travelin’ Soldier” last year on the Country Music Association’s awards show, their relationship with Sony Music was in jeopardy and prospects for a new release were dim.

On Wednesday night, at the first-ever CMT Flameworthy Video Music Awards, the trio will receive the inaugural Flameworthy Video Visionary Award in recognition of outstanding accomplishment in creating music videos.

All three members –- Natalie Maines, Emily Robison and Martie Maguire -– will be on hand for the awards show. And since recent reports indicate that the split with Sony may have been averted, it is reasonable to wonder if the Chicks might give their fans -– and the media on hand for the event –- some glimpse into what their future may hold.

The Chicks issued a single, “Long Time Gone,” to radio stations on May 23. On the current Billboard chart for country singles and tracks, the song has rocketed to No. 26 in just two weeks. Footage for a video was shot two weekends ago in Reynosa, Mexico. Marcus Rayboy directed. His past credits include the video clip for Santana’s “Smooth” featuring matchbox twenty’s Rob Thomas.

“We know that music videos are instrumental in bringing our music to the fans and we take making them very seriously,” Maguire told CMT when the Chicks were named recipients of the Video Visionary honor. “There aren’t any videos we’ve done that we haven’t been completely involved in the creative process.”

The group’s first video was for “I Can Love You Better,” in early 1998. Others from their first album, Wide Open Spaces, included “There’s Your Trouble,” “Wide Open Spaces” and “You Were Mine.”

From their second album, Fly, released in 1999, the Chicks did videos for “Ready to Run,” “Cowboy Take Me Away,” “Goodbye Earl” and “Without You.”

“Goodbye Earl,” featuring actor Dennis Franz and exploring the song’s domestic violence theme, debuted on the Grammy Awards telecast and went on to win video of the year honors from the CMA and the Academy of Country Music.

Videos helped the group gain valuable exposure in the beginning, says vocalist Maines. “Now,” she observes, “it’s not so much that we have to make a video; it’s like we get to make a video.”