Chicago Sun-Times
Tuning in with Thomas Conner

SXSW: The return of Dixie Chick Natalie Maines

| No Comments | No TrackBacks


Natalie Maines performs Wednesday night with Ben Harper at SXSW. (AP)

AUSTIN, Texas -- Really, no hoots and cheers when Natalie Maines, covering Pink Floyd's "Mother," sang the song's line about running for president?

Maines, the singer for country's Dixie Chicks, returned to the spotlight in a Wednesday night showcase at the Austin City Limits Live theater during SXSW. Once the flashpoint for debate after disparaging President George W. Bush (telling a London audience in 2003, "Just so you know, we're ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas"), the Lubbock native was back in Austin a decade later to unveil the new Natalie. Performing the entirety of her new album, "Mother" -- her solo debut since the Dixie Chicks went on hiatus in 2007 -- Maines appeared stolid and confident.

In fact, in the beginning the set lacked much energy at all, plodding through midtempo numbers without much fanfare or enthusiasm. The Pink Floyd cover -- a dark choice, but played capably and arranged for arenas -- is part of the reason this is being touted as a "rock" record, and eventually more of her trademark feistiness backed up that perspective. Politics are still foregrounded: "I put this on the album because it reminds me of the West Memphis Three," she said by way of introducing Dan Wilson's "Free Life." But then -- backed as she was Ben Harper and his Innocent Criminals band (Harper co-produced Maines' new album) -- she put down her own guitar and launched into Patty Griffin's "Silver Bell," unleashing a pent-up Belinda Carlisle kind of frenzy while rooted at the mike. Suddenly the near faux-hawk hairdo was making sense.

"Mother" is due May 7. Incidentally, as Maines pointed out, Patty Griffin also has a new album out the same day.

No TrackBacks

TrackBack URL:

Leave a comment

Thomas Conner

Thomas Conner covers pop music for the Chicago Sun-Times. Contact him via e-mail.


About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Thomas Conner published on March 14, 2013 8:39 AM.

SXSW: Chicago's Wild Belle ready for summer was the previous entry in this blog.

SXSW grows up, Nick Cave gets daaahk, Waxahatchee is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.