Ruined for anti-war opinion, Dixie Chicks to return to MN

The Dixie Chicks announced today they’ll play the Minnesota State Fair next August. It’s the first tour of the United States in 10 years for the group that paid a terrible price for having an unpopular opinion.

The State Fair venue is at the end of the group’s 41-city U.S. tour.

The Dixie Chicks, one of the most popular country acts, were banished from the airwaves by corporate radio after lead singer Natalie Maines made comments critical of President George Bush 12 years ago.

As Maines introduced, “Travelin’ Soldier” at a concert in London, she said, “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 that the President of the United States is from Texas.”

Emily Robison, left, and Martie Maguire, right, adjust Natalie Maines’ hair as the Dixie Chicks perform in Los Angeles in 2007. Gus Ruelas | AP

The reaction was swift and immediate from the country universe.

“It was as if she’d French-kissed Saddam Hus­sein while setting fire to a puppy wrapped in the American flag,” Rolling Stone said.

Radio stations stopped playing their music. Fans turned on the trio, which released one more album, then broke up, after winning best album at the Grammy Awards in 2007.

In recent years, the group has toured Canada and Europe, but dismissed talk of a U.S. tour. “I feel like we’re tainted,” Maines told Rolling Stone in 2013.

“I always thought they accepted us in spite of the fact that we were different,” she said. “It shocked me and kind of grossed me out that people thought I would be a conservative right-winger, that I’d be a redneck. But at that time, people didn’t ask us things like, ‘What do you think of gay marriage?’ If they had, they would have learned how liberal I was. But I was so confused by who people thought I was and what I had been putting out there.”

Tickets for the State Fair show go on sale on Friday.

It will be interesting to see how quickly local country stations rush (or not) to be part of the show.

Documentary: Shut up and sing