10 Albums for Fans of the Dixie Chicks

Growing up in musical families in Texas, the Dixie Chicks have always been exposed to an eclectic batch of singers, songwriters and styles. Arriving in stores Tuesday (Aug. 27), their latest album, Home, reflects those diverse influences — with an acoustic touch. Martie Maguire, Natalie Maines and Emily Robison recorded the follow-up to 1998’s Wide Open Spaces and 1999’s Fly in Austin, Texas, with Maines’ father — steel guitarist Lloyd Maines — co-producing the album. Throughout their impressive career, the Chicks have unearthed some of their most memorable material from the following 10 albums, all recommended by CMT.com for fans of the Texas trio.

Fleetwood Mac
Fleetwood Mac (1975)
From Home
Natalie Maines had heard this song for decades, but at age 27, as a young mother watching a war unfold, she finally connected with it. As it turns out, Stevie Nicks was 27 when she wrote it for Fleetwood Mac’s self-titled debut. Their follow-up album, Rumours, went on to sell 18 million copies. On Fleetwood Mac’s 1997 concert album The Dance, hearing Nicks sing “Landslide” — with lyrics like “Time makes you bolder, children get older, and I’m getting older too” — is a revelation. Maines appears on Nicks’ 2001 album Trouble in Shangri-La, and Nicks has indicated a new Fleetwood Mac album is in the works.

Radney Foster
See What You Want to See (1998)
“Godspeed (Sweet Dreams)”
From Home
With this rock album, Radndy Foster earned extensive airplay on the hippest radio station in Austin — KGSR. The Chicks picked the album’s quietest moment for Home, however. Foster wrote the lullaby for his young son, who was taken to France amid a bitter custody battle. Foster and son hung around the studio while the Chicks recorded the track. With George Ducas, he also co-wrote “Never Say Die” on Wide Open Spaces. Another Way to Go, Foster’s new album, arrives on Sept. 10.

Patty Griffin
Living With Ghosts (1996)
“Let Him Fly”
From Fly
A commanding singer, Patty Griffin originally recorded the 10 delicate songs on Living With Ghosts as demos but released them instead as a breathtaking acoustic album. Though she’s economical with her words, Griffin manages to craft powerful music that balances loneliness with honesty and hope. Revealing songs like “Truth No. 2” and “Top of the World” — both on Home — prompted the Chicks to invite Griffin to open shows on their Fly tour. Her latest album, 1000 Kisses, captures that same quiet intensity.

The Groobees
The Groobees (1999)
“Wide Open Spaces”
From Wide Open Spaces
The missing verse of “Wide Open Spaces” can be found on this independent CD, produced by Lloyd Maines. The band has since split, but Susan Gibson, a former Groobee from Amarillo, Texas, still writes about restlessness and looking for comfort on the road. Like Natalie Maines, she wraps the feisty lyrics around her unmistakable voice — which is rich, deep and sincere. An engaging performer, Gibson constantly tours throughout Texas and released a solo album, Chin Up, in July.

Maria McKee
Maria McKee (1989)
“Am I the Only One (Who’s Ever Felt This Way?)”
From Wide Open Spaces
My, this woman can sing. A full decade before the Chicks landed on the charts, Maria McKee captured that lingering sense of defeat in her music, without coming off like a loser. As a simmering soundtrack to yet another bad break-up, this little-known album is hard to beat. Born in Los Angeles, McKee also sang for the roots-rock band Lone Justice and expects to release a solo album in the coming months. For a comprehensive look at her career, try McKee’s 17-song Ultimate Collection.

10 Albums for Fans of the Dixie Chicks continued