Tracks from the Past: Dixie Chicks


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Dixie Chicks
Wide Open Spaces
Released January 27, 1998

Before Dixie Chicks blossomed on the country-music scene in 1998, the industry was suffering a bit of a broken-record syndrome. Wide Open Spaces was the sugar missing from country music’s pitcher of lemonade.

Listening to the title track carries the listener to a carefree time and place. The song embodies limitless country landscapes that ease the mind and pump oxygen to the brain.

The country trio’s début tracks exude confidence and ownership of the genre, almost as though the three had already been dominating the country music charts. In fact, not only did Wide Open Spaces win the Grammy for best country album in 1999, but every subsequent Dixie Chicks record has garnered the award.

Wide Open Spaces presents a well-selected and well-produced array of songs. “You Were Mine” is a lamenting country ballad but still has the trademark Dixie Chicks strength. The all-female band distinguishes itself from the typical generic sentiments that country artists often fall into.

“Tonight the Heartache’s On Me” is an upbeat tune about an otherwise depressing breakup, similar to Leslie Gore’s oldie “It’s My Party (And I’ll Cry If I Want To).” The women of Dixie Chicks invite everyone to join in on their lament, using bitter country vocals to warn a new girl that the guy is going to get bored and drop her just the same way he did before.

Wide Open Spaces is like an entertaining book of short stories to suit any mood — fed up or carefree, happy or depressed.

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