On March 10, 2003, merely nine days before the US invasion of Iraq, a global country phenomenon kicked off their world tour in London. Lead singer, Natalie Maines, addressed the sold-out Shepherd’s Bush Empire theater: “Just so you know, we’re on the good side with y’all. We do not want this war, this violence, and we’re ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas.”
Flash forward seventeen years. The country music world has yet to be shaken by a political controversy as damning as what ensued. Given the current political climate, it is difficult to imagine a time when speaking out against the president would spark a fire as blazing as the album burnings, boycotts, and banishment that met the Dixie Chicks back on their side of the pond.
Taking The Long Way for the last 14 years, the Texas-based trio has remained mostly dormant. Leading up to the release of their fifth studio album, a few rumblings included reunion tour of the US in 2016 and a harmonic feature, “Soon You’ll Get Better,” on Taylor Swift’s 2019 album, Lover.
The evidence so far suggests Maines is back and as unapologetically loud as ever. After teasing social media with clips from their upcoming single, the Dixie Chicks wiped their Instagram account. Maines previously shared a snippet of the impending release with the caption: “I’m gonna get in trouble for this, but that’s why you love me.” Committing to the theme, they deleted the post as it began to circulate. This pattern repeated itself until last night, with only one post remaining on their profile.
The lone text-graphic defined “Gaslighter” as “a psychological manipulator who seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or in members of a group, making them question their own memory, perception, or sanity.” They left their audience with the leading caption “3.4.20 #GASLIGHTER.”
This masterful publicity stunt has created deafening anticipation of the release. Title-track, “Gaslighter,” debuts the follow up to their Grammy-sweeping 2006 record, Taking The Long Way. This female power trio left the world waiting for over a decade with the message they were “Not Ready To Make Nice.” “Gaslighter” indicates that they are still not willing to do so. As vocal champions for women’s rights, The Dixie Chicks are re-emerging at a time when the world needs them the most.
The rotating vintage reels reveal strength in numbers. These ideals have been preached since “Goodbye Earl” in 1999. The film portrays Maines in a militant fashion. The power of their harmonization sets the tone: The Dixie Chicks are back, and they mean business.
Watch “Gaslighter” from the Dixie Chicks below and listen here: