Dixie Chicks Touring to Defeat Bush

October Shows With James Taylor Are Part of Vote for Change Tour

The Dixie Chicks and James Taylor will perform together in October as part of the Vote for Change concert tour aimed at defeating George W. Bush in his re-election bid.

The Chicks and Taylor are among more than 20 acts scheduled to perform in nine swing states before the Nov. 2 presidential election. Others on the tour include John Mellencamp, the Dave Matthews Band, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, R.E.M., Babyface, Ben Harper and Pearl Jam. Multiple concerts will be staged on the same day in the same state to maximize the political effectiveness of the tour. All shows will take place Oct. 1-8.

The tour is presented by MoveOn Pac, and all concert proceeds will benefit America Coming Together (ACT), a liberal organization working in 17 battleground states. ACT’s official Web site states that the group is targeting voters who “will derail the right-wing Republican agenda by defeating George W. Bush and electing Democrats up and down the ticket.”

In a prepared statement appearing on the MoveOn Pac Web site, the Dixie Chicks said, “As concerned mothers, women and, most importantly, concerned Americans, we are compelled to do what we can to inspire other voters to get involved in this year’s election. We hope our participation in the Vote for Change Tour will be a catalyst for positive change.”

Matthews was more specific, noting, “A vote for change is a vote for a stronger, safer, healthier America. A vote for Bush is a vote for a divided, unstable, paranoid America. It is our duty to this beautiful land to let our voices be heard. That’s the reason for the tour. That’s why I’m doing it.”

The Dixie Chicks’ tour with Taylor includes six cities: Pittsburgh (Oct. 1), Cleveland (Oct. 2), Detroit (Oct. 3), Iowa City, Iowa (Oct. 5), St. Louis (Oct. 6) and Tampa, Fla. (Oct. 8). The two acts performed together in 2002 during an episode of CMT Crossroads.

In March 2003, when the U.S. was on the brink of the war in Iraq, Dixie Chicks lead vocalist Natalie Maines gained international attention when she told a London audience she was ashamed that Bush is from their home state of Texas. She later issued a written apology for making the statement and told a New Zealand TV reporter that her comment about Bush was “a joke.”

At the time of the London concert, the Dixie Chicks had already sold out virtually every show of its 2003 world tour. CD sales plummeted, however, and country radio programmers still show little indication of adding the trio back to station playlists.

Talking to the Associated Press to promote the Vote for Change tour, Maines this week said, “A change is in order. There’s never been a political climate like this, which is just the opposite of me as a person and what I believe in.”

Calvin Gilbert has served as CMT.com’s managing editor since 2002. His background includes stints at the Nashville Banner, Radio & Records and Westwood One.