The Dixie Chicks are supposed to be banned from country music, right? So, how did they just play a sold-out show at the Bridgestone Arena in the genre’s capital city of Nashville?
It turns out the rift between the country music community and the Dixie Chicks isn’t as wide as you might have thought. The Chicks were met with rousing applause as they opened the show. Many country stars dotted the crowd, including Shania Twain, Wynonna, Maren Morris and Jaren Johnston of The Cadillac Three. Wy and Shania even schmoozed with the Dixie Chicks backstage after the show.
Further into their set, lead singer Natalie Maines greeted the Nashville crowd saying, “Long time, no see!”
That was the only acknowledgement that this group, who was once at the top of the country music world, made about having not played Music City in 10 years.
Certain songs in the set, like “Not Ready to Make Nice,” were born out of the firestorm surrounding Natalie’s 2003 comments against President George W. Bush, which led to the group being banned at country radio and leaving the format altogether.
So, would the Dixie Chicks ever consider a return to the country format that made them famous? We aren’t so sure.
Country hits like “Cowboy Take Me Away” sounded as transcendent as ever, and the Chicks poked fun at Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, as well as Donald Trump and Jeb Bush in a hilarious political video for “Ready to Run.” Their choice of cover songs was decidedly rock, though.
The ladies left out certified country hits such as “There’s Your Trouble,” “Cold Day in July,” “You Were Mine” and “Heartbreak Town” in favor of obscure covers from Bob Dylan, Beyoncé, Ben Harper, Prince and a trio of cover songs from Patty Griffin’s catalog. It’s unfortunate they didn’t think to throw in a cover from one of their biggest fans, Miranda Lambert, who basically formed Pistol Annies in the image of the Dixie Chicks. They could’ve also wrapped their voices around Maren Morris’ recent hit, “My Church,” which could’ve fit on any of the Dixie Chicks’ early albums.
Clearly, the chill in Nashville has thawed when it comes to the trio, and their influence on the format is still strong. Here’s hoping they’ve warmed up to some of the new sounds coming out of Music City by the time they return for another show in 2026.
In the meantime, here’s a Spotify playlist of the songs they performed in Music City.