Martie Maguire and Emily Robison of the Dixie Chicks will apparently have some new music out this year without lead vocalist Natalie Maines. However, the project's release date and musical direction remain unclear.
The Chicks' management company referred questions on the matter to a New York publicist, who confirmed that Maguire and Robison, who are sisters, will release an album on Columbia Records, the Chicks' home label, without Maines. But the publicist provided no information on the album's title, release date or market aspirations.
Lloyd Maines, Natalie's father, who co-produced the Chicks' 2002 album, Home, told CMT.com the sisters are "cutting some demos" and that Natalie had recorded "a little something with them ... about a year ago. I know that Martie's doing a fiddle record on her own and that Emily has been demoing some of her [own] songs. I played on some of those."
The Texas-based producer says he doesn't think the three Chicks have yet decided how they might reincarnate their act.
"They were all here at my house for Christmas," he says. "Everybody seemed happy and healthy. And they were back here on New Year's Eve with their families. Everybody had a great time, but, I tell you, during holidays, I don't ask any business questions, and they didn't offer any insight. ... But they're definitely still an entity. ...
"I know that the girls seem really happy being out of the public eye. They hit it so hard for so many years. The dynamics have changed so much now because they've all got kids that are in school. The happy-go-lucky, just-take-off-and-go situation has definitely changed."
Maguire's bluegrass album consists of fiddle tunes, a source close to the project says. Robison played banjo on "two or three" of the cuts with Scott Vestal handling banjo on the remainder.
"It's old tunes she learned when she was a kid," Maines notes, "and she's going to do an instructional book along with it."
Attempts to reach Columbia's A&R department were unsuccessful.