Has once-controversial Natalie Maines divorced herself from the Dixie Chicks as rumored? Not so, said the former lead singer of the Texas-based country music band.
Maines, who made headlines in 2003 when she criticized former President George Bush in the run up to the invasion of Iraq. was interview by The Hollywood Reporter about the release of her first solo album titled "Mother."
The release comes at a time when the Dixie Chicks have only played at a few local venues over the past six years.
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Asked directly if she had split from the band that made her famous, Maines said the band remained intact despite their apparent inactivity in recent years.
"The Dixie Chicks still exist. The music still exists. I am open to playing live shows. It’s fun," Maines said. "So unless they want to get a new lead singer or there’s some big change, I don’t see any purpose in that. To me, we’re the Dixie Chicks. We’ll always be the Dixie Chicks."
Maines is scheduled to tour again with the Dixie Chicks this summer in Canada.
Maines embraced a new direction in her music career.
"I didn’t grow up listening to country music. I pretty much grew up rebelling against country music," Maines said. "So I’m right back where I started! It feels perfect."
Maines' new album is described as being more rock than country and critics were already praising it.
"Mother is a flat-out masterpiece, an ideal match of singer and songs that moves Maines from being a skilled and decorative singer into one of the most emotive vocalists of our time," said New York Daily News music critic Jim Farber.
"Just so you know, we're on the good side with y'all," Maines said while on stage in England with her fellow band members Emily Robison and Martie Maguire in 2003. "We do not want this war, this violence, and we're ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas."
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The comments led to an overnight backlash against the band. In an attempt to reverse public opinion, Maines subsequently issued an apology.
"As a concerned American citizen, I apologize to President Bush because my remark was disrespectful," Maines said. "I feel that whoever holds that office should be treated with the utmost respect . . . I love my country. I am a proud American."
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