Listen Up: Wednesday, October 17, 2002
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Dixie Chicks

Home (Open Wide/Monument/Columbia Records)

By Ken Shimamoto

The Dixie Chicks are quite a success story — from busking on the streets of Dallas to headlining stadiums.

Recorded in Austin after some time in Nashville’s clutches, co-produced by Natalie Maines’ session-ace dad Lloyd Maines, Home represents the sound of the three happily married Chicks ... nesting.

What with Dolly Parton recording near-traditional bluegrass on her last couple of albums, Pam Tillis cutting an album of her illustrious father Mel’s honkytonk shuffles and ballads, and now this deliberately anti-glitzy effort from the Chicks, you’d almost think that mainstream country was going back to its, uh, roots. Could it have something to do with dipping sales of the post-’70s rock fare that’s dominated the country airwaves the last few years? Then again, Home does include a cover of Stevie Nicks’ “Landslide” that’s easier on the ear than the Smashing Pumpkins’ version was, at least.

Throughout, the Chicks’ voices ache and soar, and their instrumental work (on banjo, fiddle, and dobro) is effective. They get some songwriting assistance from Marty Stuart, and the ever-ethereal Emmylou Harris even puts in an appearance on the lullaby “Godspeed (Sweet Dreams).”

As for the songs, the Vietnam tale “Travelin’ Soldier” may take on new relevance if the Bush-Hussein family feud heats up. “Truth No. 2” tells an abuse victim’s story in the first person. “A Home” is a rumination on a broken relationship that shouldn’t have been. “More Love” contrasts the struggles between individuals with the larger struggles in the world outside and is probably the best thing here. “If there’s ever an answer,” the Chicks sing, “it’s more love.” Indeed.


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