In Bush We Trust

The Dixie Chicks returned to the scene of the crime and seemed to enjoy repeating the offense, with Natalie Maines once again telling a London Shepherds Bush Empire audience: “Just so you know, we’re ashamed that the president of The United States is from Texas.”

The first time the act made such a statement, at the same venue in March 2003, it went well with the London liberals but not so well with the hawks back home.

In a country music world where blind patriotism is usually as important as having a big hat, it was – according to London’s Evening Standard – “like burning the Stars and Stripes at the Super Bowl.”

The band’s music was banned by some U.S. radio networks, but not by Clear Channel, as widely reported. It was hit by a tidal wave of righteous indignation.

The Dixie Chicks’ return to the U.K. even led Financial Times to run a June 21st piece detailing how Maines’ 2003 remark on the eve of the invasion of Iraq met with fury in the U.S., especially in the conservative heartland where many of the band’s fans live.

“They were denounced as ‘Dixie Sluts’ and ‘Saddam’s Angels,'” the FT recalled, pointing out one Texas rally where a bulldozer destroyed copies of the group’s CDs.

“There were death threats and radio boycotts. The Dixie Chicks went from being the highest-selling female group in history, with more than 30 million sales, to the most reviled,” it added.

Bloodied but seemingly unbowed, The Dixie Chicks toughed it out and its latest record is still managing to sell well in the U.S. and most major European territories.

At the June 15th show in London, the merchandise stall carried a line of T-shirts that read: “The Bush We Trust Is Shepherds Bush.”

– John Gammon